5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Angel

Review: Love Comes Unheard by Andrew Grey

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Title: Love Comes Unheard (Senses: Book Five)

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a GlanceA sweet addition to a wonderfully rounded series.

Review By: Angel

Blurb: Garrett Bowman is shocked that fate has brought him to a family who can sign. He’s spent much of his life on the outside looking in, even within his biological family, and to be accepted and employed is more than he could have hoped for. With Connor, who’s included him in his family, Garrett has found a true friend, but with the distant Brit Wilson Haskins, Garrett may have found something more. In no time, Garrett gets under Wilson’s skin and finds his way into Wilson’s heart, and over shared turbulent family histories, Wilson and Garrett form a strong bond.

Wilson’s especially impressed with the way Garrett’s so helpful to Janey, Connor and Dan’s daughter, who is also deaf. When Wilson’s past shows up in the form of his brother Reggie, bringing unscrupulous people to whom Reggie owes money, life begins to unravel. These thugs don’t care how they get their money, what they have to do, or who they might hurt. Without the strength of love and the bonds of family and friends, Garrett and Wilson could pay the ultimate price.

Dividers

Review: Any Andrew Grey book is an instant read for me now, as I just love my feel good happy endings with a bit of reality. Love Comes Unheard is the fifth book in the Senses series. The Senses series involves many couples, several characters with disabilities, and how they go about their individual lives. The characters from previous books in the series make an appearance in the follow-ups, so I don’t think this can be read as a standalone. I really recommend that you start from the beginning with Love Comes Silently.

I really enjoyed seeing disabled characters as the stars, so to speak, in this series. Most times the MCs are often hale, whole and practically perfect, so it was a good change of pace. Each disability is treated with respect and understanding, and really made this series for me. Grey doesn’t disappoint with his happy endings either, in spite of the subject matter.

For this particular book, the disability is deafness, and while this has been touched on in a previous book, I liked that Grey went more in depth with these particular characters. Wilson and Garrett were fun to watch as they built their relationship. In addition to the disability aspect of the story, there was also an age disparity issue and one of homophobia, all of which was handled just as delicately as the disability.

I also loved seeing Connor, Dan, and their family again, and how this couple’s relationship had progressed. Garrett meshed so well with the family that it was hard to believe he hadn’t been there from the beginning. Getting Wilson’s background story was just fantastic for me, as I adored his character when he was introduced in the last book. Love Comes Unheard is a sweet and wonderful addition to this already delightful series of hope and love.

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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:

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

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

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

Author:  Andrew Grey

Narrator:  Randy Fuller

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  7 hours and 14 minutes

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

Reviewed By:  Karen

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

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.

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You can buy Fire and Ice here:

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4.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Saving Faithless Creek by Andrew Grey

Title: Saving Faithless Creek

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages

At a Glance: Andrew Grey always gets my attention with cowboys and ranching, and Saving Faithless Creek is one of those stories but with a little different approach.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Blair Montague is sent to Newton, Montana, to purchase a ranch and some land for his father. It’s a trip he doesn’t want to make. But his father paid for his college education in exchange for Blair working for him in his casinos, so Blair has no choice. When he finds out he’ll be dealing with Royal Masters, the man who bullied him in high school, he is shocked. Then Blair is surprised when he finds that Royal’s time in the Marines has changed him to the point where Blair could be attracted to him… if he’s willing to take that chance.

Royal’s life hasn’t been a bed of roses. He saw combat in the military that left him scarred, and not just on the outside. When he inherits his father’s ranch, he discovers his father wasn’t a good manager and the ranch is in trouble. The sale of land would put them back on good footing, but he is suspicious of Blair’s father’s motives, and with good reason. The attraction between them is hard for either to ignore, but it could all evaporate once the land deal is sealed.

Dividers

Review: Andrew Grey always gets my attention with cowboys and ranching, and Saving Faithless Creek is one of those stories but with a little different approach. This book has to do more with bullying, so I’m reviewing it in a different direction; not from the cowboy side but from the bullying side.

Blair was bullied so bad at the age of sixteen that his mother moved them from a place she loved in order to protect him. Even though Blair is older now, he doesn’t seem to see he’s still being bullied by his own father. All Blair ever wanted was some type of positive recognition from him, which he never gets. Blair’s father makes him feel guilty about his college education and his business prospects as a ploy to get Blair to unknowingly do his scheming.

Royal is a more mature and worldly person now. Growing up, his life was not easy. He joined the Marines and fought in the war, and bullied Blair severely in high school because of his own personal issues. He still hides and worries about the fact that he’s gay, something he envied Blair for because Blair never hid that fact. Royal’s also been hiding his feelings for Blair.

I have to say I felt more sympathetic for Royal. Royal did change, the hard way, through war, everyday life, and a failing farm. Even though Blair wants more with Royal, he was always waiting for the bully to reappear in Royal, which became annoying to me. At some point he needed to stop dwelling on the past.

Blair and Royal have a great support in Blair’s Mother and their BFF Todd (I hope he gets a cowboy), and I especially liked Hiram Bartlett. He really sends a great message.

I found the story to reflect contrasts to bullying by a young Royal and Blair’s father, also in how Royal’s and Blair’s lives were so different.

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen

Review: Fire and Ice by Andrew Grey

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

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I have to say, from the first chapter I think the outcome of the story is pretty predictable, but, as they say, it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey, and that is certainly true in this case.

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: The Carlisle Cops series are the first books I have read by Andrew Grey. I am not sure how that happened, but boy, have I been missing out. I enjoyed Fire and Ice even more than the first book, Fire and Water.

Carter and Donald are so cute together, and are even cuter with Alex. I have to say, from the first chapter I think the outcome of the story is pretty predictable, but, as they say, it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey, and that is certainly true in this case. I don’t think being able to guess the outcome in any way took away from the story, and I think in some ways it added to it. I found myself cheering the guys on and anxiously awaiting how it was all going to work out.

I have decided that I have turned into an even bigger sap lately, since it seems every book I read makes me teary at some point, and this one is no exception. There were sad and angry tears while reading about the guys, and how they handled Alex, and what he went through, and then later, when we finally hear Donald’s story. But, there were also happy tears when things worked out even better than I had expected.

This for me was just a really sweet story about two men not just learning to trust each other and falling in love but forming the family they always wanted, though didn’t think they would ever get. I will certainly be checking out all the other books by Andrew Grey now.

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4 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Path Not Taken by Andrew Grey

Title: Path Not Taken (A Daily Dose Story)

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 57 Pages

At a Glance: Path not Taken is a well written story about the gift of a second chance.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: On the train from Lancaster to Philadelphia, Trent runs into Brit, his first love and the first man to break his heart. They’ve both been through a lot in the years since they parted ways, and as they talk, the old connection tenuously strengthens. Trent finally works up the nerve to call Brit, and their rekindled friendship slowly grows into the possibility for more. But both men are shadowed by their pasts as they explore the path they didn’t take the first time. If they can move beyond loss and painful memories, they might find their road leads to a second chance at happiness.

Dividers

Review: Trent made the trip from Lancaster to Philadelphia by train once a week. He’s a lawyer; bankruptcy and divorce is his expertise, and was with his lover, John, for twelve years…until John died of a heart defect. Trent hasn’t been with anyone in two years, but on one particular early morning commute, while the train is still dark, he notices a light glowing across the aisle, and can’t believe the face he sees, a face from his past.

Brit did his time in the Navy, got out, and is now a senior software developer. He’s made some mistakes in his life: He was in a relationship that went sour after eight years, and has been divorced for three. The only good in his life is his daughter Mary, who is in college. When he looks across the aisle at Trent, he asks, “Do I know you?” Trent tells him to think back some twenty years ago, to their college years. And Brit remembers.

The two men meet on the train again and talk more about what has happened in their lives. Brit and Trent had known each other from the third grade, became best friends, and as they grew up Trent wasn’t afraid to admit who he was, or what he felt for Brit. But, Brit broke Trent’s heart and cut all ties with him because he was afraid to admit what was true. Now, however, they have a second chance and both seem set to take that for the gift it is. That doesn’t mean things will be easy, though, as they face some obstacles along the way to their happy ending.

Andrew Grey’s Path not Taken is a well-written story about how life can send us on different paths but, ultimately, how those paths can also take us back to the beginning, with the hope for a better outcome the second time around.

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

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

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

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 42 Minutes

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

Reviewed By: Maryann

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

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

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

Dividers

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

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

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

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

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

Audio Review: One Good Deed by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo

Title: One Good Deed

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Michael Ferraiuolo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours and 12 Minutes

At a Glance: This is an amazing story by Andrew Grey. The emotions range from anger to joy, and will make you want to hug some characters while shaking others.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Luka Krachec immigrates to the United States to find his cousin dead and his cousin’s wife hospitalized after a terrible accident. He meets Peter Montgomery at the funeral. The American seems nice and captures Luka’s attention when he offers to help him with his English.

Peter has spent most of his life believing he shot his father at age six, and his family uses his regret and overwhelming guilt to keep him under their proverbial thumbs. Peter does his best to make up for what he did by helping others, and agreeing to help Luka with his English yields something amazing when they hit it off.

When Peter opens up to Luka about what happened when he was a child, Luka senses some holes in the story and suspects Peter needs some help, so he approaches the head of the psychology department at the college where he works. Neither expects to open a long-barricaded door to secrets, denial, and family manipulation.

Dividers

Review: Luka Krachec is coming from Serbia to live in America. His cousin Josif is his sponsor, and Luka will live with him and his wife Bella. He has arrived at the airport and is met by Steven, a friend from Josif’s church. When Luka asks about Josif, he has a tragedy to face—his cousin has been killed in a car accident, and Bella is in the hospital. Luka feels so much grief over Josif’s loss, and he tries to stay strong, but he begins to think he should just turn around and go back to Serbia.

Steven and Luka go to the church and meet Josif’s relatives and friends. Most speak Serbian, but Luka is still feeling out of place. He meets Peter Montgomery, a friend of Bella and Josif’s, and learns that Peter is a social worker and also helps people to learn the English language. Since Luka already has a job lined up at the university, he really needs to improve his English, and Peter offers his help. Peter and Luka spend a lot of time talking to each other at the funeral, so when Luka notices how sad Peter is, he suspects it’s more than Josif’s death that’s causing it. Luka and Peter’s friendship eventually blossoms into a loving relationship, but Luka still sees Peter struggling with his feelings. As Luka finally gets Peter to seek help, the guilt and tragedy take Peter on an emotional roller coaster ride. But, Luka has his own fears to face too. He worked for the Serbian government in scientific research, and someone from Serbia has come looking for him.

We see two different sides to the story in One Good Deed, a tragedy that tears a family apart, and one that brings a family together. Bella brings her sadness, strength, and beauty to the storyline, and Luka and Peter are there to give her loving support. She also has a surprise of her own.

This is an amazing story by Andrew Grey. The emotions range from anger to joy, and will make you want to hug some characters while shaking others. You may also want to be sure to have some tissues handy.

Michael Ferraiuolo does such a fantastic job with the narrating of this book. His accents are good, and there is a distinction of each characters’ voice, with a clear and precise interpretation of emotions.

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: Upside Down by Andrew Grey – Narrated by John Solo

Title: Upside Down (Bronco’s Boys: Book Two)

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours and 47 Minutes

At a Glance: Another exciting book in the Bronco’s Boys series, and John Solo does a really good job on the narration.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Lowell Cartwright’s life as a mercenary problem solver has taken its toll, and after one more difficult job, he wants out. For help, he turns to Bull, a soldier of fortune turned club owner—not exactly a friend, but the best chance Lowell has. He visits Bull’s club to scope it out and meets Jeremy Hodgson. The twink captures his attention in a big way. Bull tells Lowell to stay away from the club until he decides whether he can help, so Lowell stays in town. When he spots Jeremy passed out on the floor of a convenience store, he goes to Jeremy’s aid.

Lowell piques Jeremy’s interest immediately, pushing all the right buttons. Then, when Jeremy needs help, Lowell’s kindness turns interest into something more.

But trouble comes knocking when Jeremy’s place is bugged. Maybe Lowell’s past is catching up to him, or maybe the danger centers on Jeremy’s roommate Tristan’s mysterious boyfriend. Whatever the source of the problem, the future Lowell and Jeremy hope for doesn’t stand a chance unless they can find a way to protect themselves.

Dividers

Review: Lowell “Spook” Cartwright is a mercenary and a master at creating different identities. He’s a gun for hire but is getting tired of the dangerous business he’s in, and he wants out. He has just returned from an assignment that didn’t go so smooth, and now he has to go on the run when his location is compromised. What he needs is advice and a vacation.

Jeremy Hodgson works as a software developer and his hobby is collecting comic books, but he has hopes to be a game designer one day. He’s feeling down because he sees his friends with boyfriends, and he hasn’t even had a date in six months. To try and let his worries go, he and his friend Tristan head for the dance floor at Bull’s, where Jeremy ends up dancing with a mysterious stranger. When Bull overhears Jeremy saying the guy was like an illusion, Bull comes up with an idea how to find out who the guy is. As it turns out, Spook is a man from Bull’s past, the man who’d tried to take Bull’s life, and when Bull confronts him, Spook explains that all he needs is help getting out of the mercenary business. When Jeremy overhears what Spook has said, he doesn’t know what to think, which leads to all sorts of questions to be answered, not the least of which is, will Jeremy still want Spook if he discover the truth about Spook’s job.

Andrew Grey’s Upside Down is another exciting book in the Bronco’s Boys series, and John Solo does a really good job on this narration, offering just the right amount of emotion to the story, with each of the characters having distinct voices. I really like the idea of Zach, Jeremy, Tristan and Kevin’s friendship, and how supportive they are with each other, and you can’t forget Bull—he’s just a big teddy bear. They all remain energetic, fun, and always caring characters.

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4.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 4.5 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audio Review: A Chaotic Range by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

Title: A Chaotic Range (Stories From the Range: Book Seven)

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 Hours, 25 Minutes

At a Glance: I really enjoyed Andrew McFerrin’s narration of the story.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Most of the time ranchhand David rescues stray cattle, but this time he and his fellow cowboys Wally and Haven save a stranded motorist. David is surprised to find his former high school classmate nearly frozen in his car. After learning that Brian Applewright’s boss fired him from his ranch for being gay, they invite him back to theirs to take a job.

David and Brian moved in different social circles at school, but working together brings them closer. However, David has a rocky history on the ranch. The foreman is his ex, and he only recently returned after a heartbreakingly unsuccessful attempt to find greener pastures. He can’t risk his heart getting close to anyone.

But on a ranch, nature has a way of forcing an issue. When a snowstorm threatens, David and Brian head out to mend a fence and round up some stray cattle. David gets injured, and they must survive in the snow, cold, and wind. It might be the start of a relationship… or the end of their lives.

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Review: Brian Applewright has left the Flying C Ranch, looking for another job. He was suddenly let go after three years for being a bad worker and problematic troublemaker. He’s lonely and feeling lost and is not sure if he can trust anyone. He spins out in a snow storm and has no options but to stay in his car and keep warm. Brian is not sure how much time has passed, but he’s getting colder and starts to think this is the end for him.

Brian is rescued by Haven, Phillip, and David—a man Brian realizes he knows from high school. They take Brian back to their ranch and call Dakota, who is a doctor, to come have a look at Brian. After Dakota leaves, Phillip finds out more of Brian’s story. Brian needs a job badly, and tells Phillip what jobs he can do and asks if they need help on the ranch. Phillip tells Brian that Haven and Dakota do the hiring, so he needs to talk with them. Haven gives Brian a chance and hires him.

David Newsome came back to the ranch after leaving because of a bad breakup, and David has trust issues and jumps to conclusions. As he and Brian reminisce about high school and get closer, David lets gossip get in the way of their budding relationship.

Andrew Grey developed a really great story in A Chaotic Range. This novel brings back most of the guys from the start of the Range series, and it gives some history about how both ranches came to be and how everyone got together. I really enjoyed Andrew McFerrin’s narration of the story. I’ve listened the first couple of audios in this series, and the voices didn’t seem to fit the characters. This time, for me, they all fit. He made a clear distinction between Dakota, Wally, Haven, Phillip, Gus, Mario, and Gordon, as well as the other characters.

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4 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 4 Stars, Reviewed by Maryann

Audiobook Review: Fire and Water by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Randy Fuller

Title: Fire and Water (Carlisle Cops: Book One)

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Randy Fuller

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 33 Minutes

At a Glance: Fire and Water was a very good book, and I thought the narration by Randy Fuller was also very good.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Officer Red Markham knows about the ugly side of life after a car accident left him scarred and his parents dead. His job policing the streets of Carlisle, PA, only adds to the ugliness, and lately, drug overdoses have been on the rise. One afternoon, Red is dispatched to the local Y for a drowning accident involving a child. Arriving on site, he finds the boy rescued by lifeguard Terry Baumgartner. Of course, Red isn’t surprised when gorgeous Terry won’t give him and his ugly mug the time of day.

Overhearing one of the officer’s comments about him being shallow opens Terry’s eyes. Maybe he isn’t as kindhearted as he always thought. His friend Julie suggests he help those less fortunate by delivering food to the elderly. On his route he meets outspoken Margie, a woman who says what’s on her mind. Turns out, she’s Officer Red’s aunt.

Red and Terry’s worlds collide as Red tries to track the source of the drugs and protect Terry from an ex-boyfriend who won’t take no for an answer. Together they might discover a chance for more than they expected—if they can see beyond what’s on the surface.

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Review: Redmond “Red” Markum is a police officer in Carlisle, where a bad drug is taking over the streets. Even though Red is courageous, kind and performs his job well, people are still afraid of him. When Red was younger, he was in a car accident that took his parents’ lives and left him scarred and disfigured. He tries not to let it bother him, but he has heard all the remarks and seen all the looks and still feels very self-conscious.

Terry Baumgartner is a young man who gave up a dream of being an Olympic swimmer. Terry let his good looks go to his head. His ex-boyfriend, James, has money and gave Terry anything he wanted. But James was always in control and took Terry away from his friends and his dreams.

After Red has dealt with one drug case, he gets another call about an incident at the Y. That’s where he first meets Terry, a lifeguard there. Red can’t help noticing how perfect the young man in the small red bathing suit is. Once Red has gotten the Y incident under control, he hears a remark that Terry makes to Julie, a co-lifeguard. Arthur, a paramedic who was called to the scene, also overhears Terry’s remark. He tells Red not to listen to them and invites Red to dinner at the Hanover Grill. It’s there that Red sees Terry again, and it’s there that Terry receives a bit of advice that will change the course of this story.

The next evening, Terry and Julie go to Lavelle’s, where they pick up meals to deliver to deliver to shut-ins. The deliveries go well for Terry, but at the last one, he is surprised when Red opens the door. Red is visiting with his Aunt Margie, the one who took him in after his parents’ death. When Terry shows up at her door, Red isn’t willing to let Terry in. Aunt Margie, however, smoothes things over and invites Terry to stay for dinner. When Terry gets a call on his cell phone, Red and Aunt Margie notice how frightened Terry looks, and then he makes a hasty retreat. Aunt Margie encourages Red to go after Terry to make sure he is all right. What will Red discover when he finds Terry? Will the mystery of the drug problem get resolved? Can Red and Terry both overcome their issues?

Fire and Water was a very good book, and I thought the narration by Randy Fuller was also very good. I could tell the difference between characters and their tones of voice. Fuller did a great job of narrating the various emotions. I read along with the audio and found some slight changes to the wording, which was all for the better. It made the characters’ manner of speaking a little more believable.

I would recommend giving Fire and Water a listen.

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You can buy Fire and Water here:

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Fight for Identity by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFarrin

Title: The Fight for Identity

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 8 Minutes

At a Glance: In my humble opinion, this is the best series Andrew Grey has written so far.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Will Martin’s racist father, Kevin, hates Native Americans and wants to keep them off his property, never mind that part of the ranch land is sacred ground for the Sioux. When they request access for prayer, Kevin refuses – but Will doesn’t share his father’s views. Ever since he first saw Takoda Red Bird during one of the Sioux sacred ceremonies, Will has been fascinated. He grants the tribe access.

Takoda defies Kevin on a regular basis. He often sneaks to the sacred site on the rancher’s land for prayer and knows Will has seen him there. When, out of spite, Kevin places the land up for auction, Takoda knows it is time for action and bands together with Will to stop the sale.

In the fight that follows, Will gets more than he expected. He starts out helping the tribe preserve their identity… and ends up finding his own.

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Review: In my humble opinion, this is the best series Andrew Grey has written so far. It’s nice when one narrator performs a whole series. By the third book, Andrew McFerrin’s voice seems more at ease with the characters; he put more “acting” into this audiobook. The Grandfather sounded old, the young Martin sounded young in the prologue. The characters matured in their voices as Andrew told the story, and I really appreciated that a lot, as it drew me into the story.

The Fight for Identity brings up some good questions: Is tourism worth the cost of losing sacred grounds, how long can you hold a grudge, and is it worth it to lose your family over?

The series started with the publishing of The Good Fight, followed by The Fight Within, and now ends with this book. These audiobooks had a lot to live up to, the narration had to be as good as the stories are, and as I said in the opening paragraph, Andrew McFerrin just got better and better.

Bringing in the characters from the first two books was appreciated. When I get attached to characters, I always like knowing they are happy and living a good life. I know, I know, they aren’t real people, but just listen to this series and try not to get attached to Jerry, Akecheta, Paytah, and Bryce. And the kids, all the kids on the reservation. I just wish them peace in knowing who they are and to be proud of their heritage.






You can buy The Fight for Identity here:

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4.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Janet

Review: Backward by Andrew Grey

Title: Backward

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Backward is a well-crafted addition to this series.

Reviewed By: Janet

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

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

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

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Review: I had been looking forward to this book, as I had loved Inside Out and Upside Down, and was looking forward the conclusion to the series; so, I dived right into it. I was somewhat concerned when I hit the third chapter and hadn’t developed a real connection to the MCs. So I stopped and re-read the first two books again to refresh my memory about the characters, and then restarted Backward. For me, this was the only way to read and appreciate this book – I don’t feel it is a standalone book. There are a lot of character clues, and information or plotlines, that continue in the current book and are established in the first two books of the series.

Once I had myself prepared properly, I totally enjoyed Backward. Watching the tenderness that Harry displayed towards Tristan was sweet, and at odds to the brashness and reserve he regularly showed to the others. Although there is a kind of insta-love moment, we know this has been building for a long time. The guys have noticed each other, and admired each other, but hadn’t really spent time together until the events that happen in this book. There is a lot of intense drama in this story to tie up all the plotlines of the series, but Andrew Grey tempers that with real emotions shown by all the characters so it all flows seamlessly off the pages for our enjoyment. There did not seem to be any gratuitous actions either; the actions all played out realistically and were totally believable. I do like the way that the author shows us that love makes us all better people; that our true strength comes from loving ourselves and our own special person. I enjoy a story with a lesson built into it, and Andrew Grey does a remarkable job of presenting these morals in hopeful and endearing ways.

Backward is a well-crafted addition to this series, and it felt like a conclusion. The Fab Four has only one member left single, so there may be a story left to tell, but I am happy with the one I read, and I am sure others will be too. I do believe this is my favorite Andrew Grey series now; from the covers, to the concept, to the great characters he created, this entire series was very rewarding.






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4 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Maryann

Review: Eastern Cowboy by Andrew Grey

Title: Eastern Cowboy

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: Andrew Grey has created another wonderful story in Eastern Cowboy.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: Brighton McKenzie inherited one of the last pieces of farmland in suburban Baltimore. It has been in his family since Maryland was a colony, though it has lain fallow for years. Selling it for development would be easy, but Brighton wants to honor his grandfather’s wishes and work it again. Unfortunately, an accident left him relying on a cane, so he’ll need help. Tanner Houghton used to work on a ranch in Montana until a vengeful ex got him fired because of his sexuality. He comes to Maryland at the invitation of his cousin and is thrilled to have a chance to get back to the kind of work he loves.

Brighton is instantly drawn to the intensely handsome and huge Tanner—he’s everything Brighton likes in a man, though he holds back because Tanner is an employee, and because he can’t understand why a man as virile as Tanner would be interested in him. But that isn’t the worst of their problems. They have to face the machinations of Brighton’s aunt, Tanner’s ex suddenly wanting him back, and the need to find a way to make the farm financially viable before they lose Brighton’s family legacy.

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Review: With the passing of his Grandpa Edward, Brighton McKenzie inherits his farm, located in Maryland. The farm has been in the family since Colonial times and is now surrounded by condominiums, a shopping mall, and a subdivision.

At the reading of the will, Brighton and his sister Brianne face a very jealous Aunt Vera, daughter of their Grandpa. Of course, Aunt Vera feels she should inherit the farm and then sell it for more money than she got in the will. She tries guilting both Brighton and Brianne because as children, they were taken in by her after their parents’ death. But, we find that Brighton really was the one who took care of himself and his sister.

Brighton already has his doubts about the farm, and finds himself wavering at times, thinking it might be easier to sell it. He questions his own ability to work the farm because he has a severe leg injury from a past accident. Brianne, who is a strong presence in his life, encourages him to keep the farm. Arthur Granger, his Grandpa’s attorney, also helps by suggesting his cousin Tanner Houghton help with the farm.

Tanner Houghton is a good, strong, caring man, especially with children and animals. He returned from a ranch in Montana after an incident with the ranch owner’s son. Tanner also has a stutter, which makes him shy away from people and not say much. Tanner struggles too, with doubts about himself.

Brighton and Tanner meet and learn to work together to keep the farm up and running. They both still have obstacles to overcome, a leg injury, Aunt Vera, the city, and an ex-lover.

Andrew Grey has created another wonderful story in Eastern Cowboy. His characters are well developed and the story has an easy flow to it. I have never been disappointed by Andrew Grey’s stories and am hoping this is the beginning of a new series.






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3.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Review: Fire and Water by Andrew Grey

Title: Fire and Water

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

At a Glance: I would recommend this to someone who enjoys Beauty and the Beast elements in their stories, with an added bit of mystery and a dash of suspense.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Officer Red Markham knows about the ugly side of life after a car accident left him scarred and his parents dead. His job policing the streets of Carlisle, PA, only adds to the ugliness, and lately, drug overdoses have been on the rise. One afternoon, Red is dispatched to the local Y for a drowning accident involving a child. Arriving on site, he finds the boy rescued by lifeguard Terry Baumgartner. Of course, Red isn’t surprised when gorgeous Terry won’t give him and his ugly mug the time of day.

Overhearing one of the officer’s comment about him being shallow opens Terry’s eyes. Maybe he isn’t as kindhearted as he always thought. His friend Julie suggests he help those less fortunate by delivering food to the elderly. On his route he meets outspoken Margie, a woman who says what’s on her mind. Turns out, she’s Officer Red’s aunt.

Red and Terry’s worlds collide as Red tries to track the source of the drugs and protect Terry from an ex-boyfriend who won’t take no for an answer. Together they might discover a chance for more than they expected—if they can see beyond what’s on the surface.

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Review: I love the types of stories that don’t always deal with the perfect faces and bodies. I like a bit more realism in my romance, where the MCs are not so physically perfect, among other things (You know, us ordinary folk like to hope for love too). Lol. And this is what drew me into Fire and Water.

What I liked about Terry Baumgartner was that he actually had that moment of shame over a comment he made about the scars on Officer Red Markham’s face, and with the help of his friend, Julie, decided to better himself as a person. After all, it bothered Terry that he’d become something like his ex boyfriend, especially when his ex started to treat Terry like more of as a prized possession than a person of worth.

When Terry and Officer Red finally meet again, it’s Red’s Aunt Margie who brings the two together. As Terry gets to know Red, he finds a very gentle, kind soul behind the scarred, tough policeman’s exterior. It’s not long before Terry finds himself not only liking Red but also finds himself attracted to him as well.

My only problem with Fire and Water is that I wished there had been more in the developing relationship between Terry and Red, that it didn’t feel rushed because of the ex boyfriend, who wouldn’t go away, or because of the drug situation Red was investigating. I wanted more human interaction and not so much sex between the two MCs; something that tells me, yes, these two belong to each other. The conversations, when they talked, were very sweet and meaningful.

I would recommend this to someone who enjoys Beauty and the Beast elements in their stories, with an added bit of mystery and a dash of suspense.






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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Fight Within by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

Title: The Fight Within

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 7 Minutes

At a Glance: Andrew Grey writes the stories and Andrew McFerrin bring them to life

Blurb: Bryce Morton needs a change of scenery. Since his partner’s death a year ago, he’s become withdrawn and quiet, so his friends, Jerry Lincoln and Akecheta (John) Black Raven, convince him to go camping with them on a Sioux reservation. Though he’s not immediately sure he’s done the right thing, Bryce becomes more interested when he meets Paytah, the man who owns the reservation’s trading post.

Paytah Stillwater’s life is filled with hurt, and sometimes the only thing he has left is pride. After being abused as a child and disbelieved when he spoke up, he has withdrawn into himself-but he can never truly put his past behind him, because the source of his pain still lives on the reservation. Paytah is proud of his heritage and careful with his heart, but when Bryce commits a selfless act of kindness for one of the reservation’s children, the walls around Paytah’s heart begin to melt.

Bryce and Paytah each fight the pain within them. When Paytah’s abuser sets his sights on one of the reservation youngsters, Bryce and Paytah must set their individual fights aside. Finding a way to stop the abuser unites them to fight their way forward-together.

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Review: What a great partnership, Andrew Grey writes the stories and Andrew McFerrin bring them to life.

Why did I buy this book? Because it’s a male/male romance written by one of the best authors in the genre. Why did I buy the audio? It was a no brainer. As a matter of fact, when I saw the audio was available I did a little happy dance. I am really not the type to do happy dances, so you know it must be good.

Andrew McFerrin again does a great job narrating this story. His gift is that he has the ability to develop each characters’ personality with his voice. Paytah’s life has been filled with disappointments; you can hear it in his voice, not just his words. Bryce has also withdrawn from the world, trying to cope with the loss of his partner. Bryce’s voice grows stronger as he learns to trust and fall in love again. The sadness is there in the beginning, and the happiness is there in the end. And let’s not forget Mr. Grantham. You can hear the sneer in his voice, the snake in the grass whine. Oh, I wanted to stomp on that man’s foot.

Andrew Grey writes romance, and does a great job, but sometimes he plants a seed in his books, a seed of awareness. The message I personally got from this audio is: I celebrate the Native American culture by buying the trinkets, being a tourist, and going to their casinos. These are all good intentions, but how about the next time I travel, instead of buying the trinkets made in China, I buy a basket made in South Dakota or a bracelet made by one of the craftsman who have rented a booth at Crazy Horse Monument. Who will benefit from this purchase? Me, of course, and maybe a small child named Wamblee.






You can buy The Fight Within here:

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Good Fight by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

Title: The Good Fight

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 13 Minutes

At a Glance: One of the best stories based on an ongoing problem I’ve ever read

Blurb: Jerry Lincoln has a problem: his Sioux Falls IT consulting business has more work than one man can handle. Luckily, that means he can hire some help. Jerry just hopes his new employee, John Black Raven, ends up being more helpful than distracting – but John’s deep eyes and long hair are very distracting.
John came to town for an education and a chance at a life he couldn’t have on the reservation, but what’s important to him now is getting a job and keeping it. Six months ago, his sister died, and now her children are in foster care. Despite having the law on his side, John can’t get custody – can’t even see his niece and nephew.

As Jerry and John grow closer, John discovers he doesn’t have to struggle alone. Jerry helps him win visitation rights and provides much-needed support. Yet their victories aren’t without setbacks. Child Services is tangled up with money, politics, and red tape, and Native American children are their bread and butter. But John and Jerry are determined to fight the good fight and to win – in more ways than one.

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Review: Andrew Grey’s The Good Fight, the audiobook as well as the print book, is a very emotional ride. It’s the story of a broken foster care system in South Dakota, intertwined in a love story starring Akecheta Black Raven, his niece Ichante, and nephew Mato. Jerry Lincoln, the IT programmer who was lucky enough to hire John to work for him, falls in love with him and helps—no, not helps—stands beside Akecheta as he gains custody of his niece and nephew. The love story is perfect, built on respect and trust. If anything could have been added, it would have been to fill out the supporting characters—Paul and Leonard’s relationship with each other, and “old Man Hooper,” something happened to make that man so cranky. Oh, and Steven Dobbs from South Dakota child services, I would love to have read more about him. But, Andrew does this to me every time. He builds such great characters I just want them to be real and help them fight for their causes.

Andrew McFerrin does an outstanding job with his narration. Akecheta Black Raven, aka John, is perfect, deliberate, spoken slowly and with great character. Jerry, the web programmer, is also spot on. A hurried voice, full of energy and confusion as he tries to come to terms with his attraction to John, and trying to understand the culture of the Lakota People. All the supporting character have distinct voices, which I really appreciate when I am listening to an audiobook.

I can’t state it loud enough, The Good Fight is one of the best stories based on an ongoing problem I’ve ever read. To this day, the Lakota People of South Dakota are facing it. I am also a South Dakota girl and have witnessed firsthand some of the problems that Native Americans of South Dakota have experienced. Andrew Grey’s writing is so diverse, each story being unique and well written. Thank you, Andrew, you did you research and it shows.






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Andrew Grey, Anthology, Connie Bailey, Dreamspinner Press, Holiday Romance, John Amory, Louise Lyons, Reviewed by Angel

Reviews: Dreamspinner Advent Calendar 2014 – Celebrate!

Short stories are hard to write—and review. I love them, personally, but it does take a special type of author to get them correct, in my opinion. I think Stephen King said it best, and I am paraphrasing here, Short stories are like kisses from strangers in the dark. And they are, you never know if you are going to enjoy that stolen kiss or not. I’m adventurous and I usually do like that caress, and tend to go seeking out more than just kisses as well. **g**

That said, here are four stories from the Dreamspinner Press 2014 Advent Calender package “Celebrate!” This package contains 31 stories total, with a recurrent theme throughout of the holiday season away from home.

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BestLaidPlansTitle: Best Laid Plans

Author:  John Amory

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 21 Pages

Rating: 2 Stars

Blurb: George is an anxious, neurotic mess. The only thing that calms him is his partner of ten years, Scott. So despite how nervous it makes George to travel alone, he decides to go to Europe, where Scott has been working for two months, to visit for Christmas. George plans a day on his own in London before traveling to Paris, where Scott is staying. But on George’s day of sightseeing and shopping, everything goes wrong, from a misunderstanding with the hotel concierge to getting lost in Harrods. All George wants is to be with his partner for Christmas, but he’s not sure he’ll survive long enough for that to happen.

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Review: I did enjoy this one, but  the story fell a bit short, I think. It was sweet and had a Christmassy feel, but there was just something lacking. I’m not certain what it was. It could have just been me. Regardless, I felt bad for George. EVERYONE was so rude to him. His plans fell through, and he was trapped in a strange city with nowhere to go. He, and the writing, tended to ramble on in overlong sentences, and I kinda wanted to tell him to get over himself. If you can fly halfway round the world for your lover, you can overcome anything. Scott, though, is George’s rock, and sets everything to rights by coming to his rescue. He doesn’t actually show up, but manages to calm George down long enough to give him proper directions to carry on with his trip, where we finally get to meet Scott.

The ending makes up for George’s horrible experience, with a sweeter than sweet romantic proposal at the top of the Eiffel Tower after they spend the day together. Overall, I liked the author’s writing and will probably seek out more of his work.

DividersThreeWiseMenTitle: Three Wise Men

Author:  Connie Bailey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 29 Pages

Rating:  2 Stars

Blurb: College friends Joon, Tae, and Sangsun parted ways after an aborted attempt at a threesome. Ten years later, life has carried them down very different paths, but Joon misses his friends and decides to invite them to his home in South Korea for Christmas. He believes they belong together, but convincing the others to defy tradition and try again will take faith, hope, and a lot of talking—especially since all three of them are still in the closet.

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Review: I didn’t really like this one; however, the writing was not terrible. The story was rough and felt like a beginning even though it ended, if that makes any sort of sense. It was over before I could even get involved with any of the characters, and I kinda felt like I had missed something entirely. Especially since this was rooted largely in Korean traditions, which, I gathered from the story, aren’t exactly homosexual friendly. It wasn’t really touched on, though, just kinda glossed over that they had a duty to family and couldn’t have their triad.

Basically, I think it was too short for the themes visited, and confusing to boot. It isn’t until after the three men are together again that you realize the threesome was aborted. In fact, it is revealed that only two of the three slept together, and one got completely left out. Horrible, really, and yet, ten years after the fact, the one left out, Joon, is still in love with the other two. It also seemed to me that Joon was just there as a connecting piece because the real chemistry was between Tae and Sangsun, the two that actually had sex.

Ten years is a long time, in my opinion, and people change. Tae certainly did despite sometimes indulging in men, but Sangsun was in the firm no-never-happened-never-will-again camp. Poor Joon was just left on the sideline, still, and a virgin after ten years.  It was also confusing because suddenly they were all closeted, two of them refusing to change, then bam! we had an orgy on our hands and all promised to make a change so they could be together in their triad. Talk about tale spin. I hate to say it, but I probably won’t seek out any more stories by this author.

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SecondBiteoftheCherryTitle: Second Bite of the Cherry

Author:  Louise Lyons

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 28 Pages

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb: When Daniel Berrisford reluctantly agrees to accompany his best friend Kate to the New Year’s Eve celebrations in London, he doesn’t expect to enjoy himself. Daniel is pleasantly surprised to see his first boyfriend, James Allison, among the merrymakers. The pair haven’t seen each other for four years, but as they talk and midnight approaches, it becomes clear the spark between them is still there. The New Year is a time for new beginnings, and for Daniel and James, it might be the time to give love another chance.

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Review: This story I enjoyed in spite of the cutesy nicknames. That’s a pet peeve of mine in particular, so ignore my idiosyncrasies. There was background and while it was short on details, you could almost feel the chemistry between Daniel and James. It was a mature look at a second chance romance between two people who thought they might have had a connection but realized they were too young to do so. And really I think that’s a smart thing. A little pining is revealed when our couple take a break from the New Year’s celebrations, and it shows that in spite of being mature when they were young, it was also a learning experience for both of them. They found themselves and found one another again and decided to make a go of it. A perfectly serviceable and amicable read. I really enjoyed this author’s writing and pacing and will most likely seek out more by her.

DividersStardustTitle: Stardust

Author:  Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Duncan is an ocean from home over the holidays and expects to spend them alone. To his pleasant surprise, one of his European co-workers, Georg, befriends him and includes Duncan in the holiday traditions of his homeland: cutting a Christmas tree under starry skies at Georg’s country estate, decorating it at the family’s city home, and shopping at the Christmas market in Munich. Both men are lonely and realize they have much in common. But Georg’s life is in Germany and Duncan’s is in Boston. With the project they’re working on nearing completion, any chance for more than a holiday fling seems as elusive as stardust.

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Review: This is how you do a short story. This story is truly a wonderful Advent gift. Grey is new to me and after this introduction, I will definitely be seeking more works by him.

Amazing detail and plot without being overly dramatic, Stardust is a sweet tale of romance and finding your place. I don’t even care that the happily ever after never occurs because Duncan and Georg were fully realized, and there was the hope of them making it in spite of their long distance relationship plans.

This was the first of the Advent stories I read that didn’t leave me feeling as if the setting was just another plot device. The holiday, the Germanic traditions, and the characters were amazing in their completion and detailing. I wanted more of the story at the ending of the book, but I was just so satisfied with how Grey ended everything; once again, it didn’t matter the bow wasn’t on this fantastic gift of a story.

I’ve got more of the stories from the anthology to read, but I wanted to take the time to share my thoughts on these few. I’ll be back with more thoughts on the stories at a later date.

 

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: A Chaotic Range by Andrew Grey

Title: A Chaotic Range

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Most of the time ranch hand David rescues stray cattle, but this time he and his fellow cowboys Wally and Haven save a stranded motorist. David is surprised to find his former high school classmate nearly frozen in his car. After learning that Brian Applewright’s boss fired him from his ranch for being gay, they invite him back to theirs to take a job. Continue reading

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2 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Snowbound in Nowhere by Andrew Grey – Narration by K.C. Kelly

Title: Snowbound in Nowhere

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: K.C. Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

Rating: 2 Stars – Plot/3 Stars – Narration

Blurb: When a funeral calls his friend Martin away, sunbelt resident Chris is left alone in Martin’s cabin in the dead of winter – and in a blizzard to boot. When the power goes out, Chris thinks he’s going to freeze to death. Luckily, Horace drops in to check on him – and then runs out after a few kisses, leaving Chris upset and feeling used. Horace does come back with explanations, but is their time together keeping each other warm enough for them see they belong together? Or are these sudden emotions the product of being snowbound? Continue reading

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Review: Trapped in Oz by Andrew Grey

Title: Trapped in Oz (Tales From Kansas: Book Three)

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count:

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Martin Long has plans and dreams, but they are derailed when his parents move and must sell their house. In need of a place to stay, fast, he answers an ad for a roommate, and even though the house needs work, the owner seems nice so Martin agrees to move in. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Reviewed by Kim

Sound Bite Sunday – Review: Redemption by Fire by Andrew Grey – Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Title: Redemption by Fire

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: Peter B. Brooke

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours, 29 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Dirk Krause is an asshole of the first degree. His life is a hell of his own making, and he makes everyone around him just as miserable. When he’s injured on the job while fighting a fire, he’s nearly unbearable to the hospital staff, and of course no one from his unit cares enough to visit. Continue reading

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5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

A Man Is Looking For A Life Change In Andrew Grey’s “Upside Down”

Title: Upside Down

Author: Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Lowell Cartwright’s life as a mercenary problem solver has taken its toll, and after one more difficult job, he wants out. For help, he turns to Bull, a soldier of fortune turned club owner—not exactly a friend, but the best chance Lowell has. He visits Bull’s club to scope it out and meets Jeremy Hodgson. The twink captures his attention in a big way. Bull tells Lowell to stay away from the club until he decides whether he can help, so Lowell stays in town. When he spots Jeremy passed out on the floor of a convenience store, he goes to Jeremy’s aid. Continue reading

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3.5 Stars, Andrew Grey, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

John Solo Narrates Andrew Grey’s “Inside Out”

Title: Inside Out

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator:: John Solo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 35 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: Former mercenary Bull Krebbs now heads up security at his nightclub in Harrisburg, PA. Working the door night after night, he’s seen it all. Though tough on the outside, he’s a little hurt that people find him unapproachable. Then he pulls a cute twink out of line to perform a random search, and he’s surprised when the guy giggles and squirms. Continue reading

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