3 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating - 5 Stars, Reviewed By JJ, Tempeste O'Riley

Audio Review: Caged Sanctuary by Tempeste O’Riley – Narrated by Paul Morey

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Title: Caged Sanctuary

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Narrator: Paul Morey

Run Time: 6 hours and 26 Minutes

At a Glance: Story: This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, though I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading.

Reviewed By: JJ

Blurb: Kaden Thorn, a dental surgeon who lives a quiet life, has no hope of finding the love he craves. A vicious gay bashing cost him the use of his legs and confined him to a wheelchair. He has given up hope of finding a Dom or even a nonkink partner to love him. When his best friend practically forces him to attend a dinner party, the last thing he expects is a strong Dom who can see beyond his wheels.

Deacon James is an architect and a demanding Dom, but he has spent the past couple of years without a sub or partner. When an employee invites him to a dinner party to meet his girlfriend, Deacon smells a setup but agrees anyway. He prides himself on being an excellent judge of character, and when he meets the younger dentist, he sees past the chair and finds a sweet submissive man who more than piques his interest.

Kade’s fears and demons continue to haunt him, challenging Deacon to use everything he’s learned as a Dom to earn Kade’s trust and submission. Deacon’s determined, though, willing to battle all of it to have Kade by his side and at his feet.

Dividers

Review: Caged Sanctuary begins at a dinner party, where Kaden, a wheelchair-bound dental surgeon, meets his future Dom, Deacon, who is an architect. The two men are attracted to each other right away, and end up setting up a date for a BDSM scene. After entering into a D/s relationship, things get more serious between them. Since Deacon is very sensitive to Kaden’s insecurity over his mobility issues and does his best to make him feel comfortable, Kaden eventually learns to trust more and gains more self-confidence. Their relationship eventually progresses into something more than a Dom/sub relationship.

This book started out pleasant and enjoyable, but I lost interest after the first date, and realized the story was not for me. I think one of the issues was that the relationship moved a little too quickly. I also thought it was a bit odd that Kaden asks Deacon if he is a Dom on the first day they meet. This struck me as unbelievable, considering they were introduced by friends who had nothing to do with the lifestyle, and neither man was wearing anything to indicate they were into BDSM. Then, after their first date, they were practically a done deal. I thought Kaden was sweet, but his lack of self-confidence made it difficult for me to imagine him as a full grown adult. In addition to not liking the characters and pacing, I was hoping there would be some kind of conflict in the book. However, after they meet, they fall in love, move in together, and soon have their happily-ever-after. Despite these issues, the sex scenes were hot, and I enjoyed the sweet moments when they were cuddling.

Narration: I think Paul Morey did an excellent job with this reading. Most of the time when I listen to an audiobook, the narration pulls me out of the book multiple times throughout. However, I was able to listen to Morey without thinking of the narration even once. Each voice was distinct and seemed to match the personality of the characters.

TNA_Signature_JJ

 

 

 

 

You can buy Caged Sanctuary here:

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Amazon US

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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:

Audible.com

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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:

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Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Perie Wolford, Reviewed by Maryann, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Audio Review: Encounter by Perie Wolford – Narrated by William Turbett

Title: Encounter (Encounters: Book One)

Author: Perie Wolford

Narrator:: William Turbett

Publisher: Self-Published

Run Time: 3 Hours and 3 Minutes

At a Glance: Encounter is a unique sci-fi story for Young Adults. Perie Wolford created a mystery with tension and excitement.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: It’s time to face the unknown.

In an attempt to prove to the world that crop circles are man-made and aliens don’t really exist, Ricky and his team of young enthusiasts (including one particular enthusiast, Josh, who is hopelessly in love with Ricky) start falsifying the phenomenon by creating their own crop circles. Their endeavors prove pretty much successful, but only until the day when Ricky sees his unique circle design replicated throughout the country by forces unknown.

Dividers

Review: Ricky McAllister and Josh Cullen, with friends Ann and Mike, set out to prove that crop circles are not made by aliens but are manmade. Ricky has established a vlog where they post a lot of information and videos, and he is also the mastermind behind creating some intricate crop circles, while Josh is the expert at the videotaping. Ricky also invites Emily Bridget into the fold, an intern from Washington DC doing research on the crop circles, who tends to cause a lot of tension between Josh and Ricky.

When the first crop circle doesn’t create the results Ricky is looking for, and he finds out Emily is leaving, he feels he needs to do more. Ricky creates a bigger circle, which leads the team into a dangerous situation. When Ricky’s crop circle makes the news, and others begin to show up with his design, he heads to California to see the biggest one, with Emily and Josh in tow. The action reaches its peak when Josh discovers Emily is not who she says she is, sending him and Ricky on the run from government agents. It’s not until Josh and Ricky are locked inside a military truck that they realize the kind of friendship they really have.

Encounter is a unique sci-fi story for Young Adults. Perie Wolford created a mystery with tension and excitement. The ending is very much a surprise and left me wanting to find out what happened to Ricky and Josh, and if there is a future for them. I don’t read many Young Adult books, and while I found Josh to be somewhat immature in handling his feelings towards Ricky, and that Ricky handled the situation much better, I will definitely be watching for book two.

I found the narration of the story by William Turbett to be fair. I would have liked a stronger distinction between characters tones, and pauses where the story went into different timeframes, but I really liked the eerie music at the end, during the credits, which fit the theme of this story.

TNA_Signature_Maryann







 

You can buy Encounter here:

Audible.com

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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.

TNA_Signature_Maryann






You can buy One Good Deed here:

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5 Stars, Amy Lane, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Narration Rating, Narration Rating - 2.5 Stars, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: Beneath the Stain by Amy Lane – Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Title: Beneath the Stain

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 16 hours and 36 minutes

At a Glance: Unfortunately, this narrator paired with this book just wasn’t for me, but in the end I was glad I listened to it, if for no other reason than my love of the story.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers – and their penchant for making good music when they weren’t getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends – especially Grant Adams – made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he’s hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn’t flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that’s not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav’s help – but Trav’s not sure he’s going to survive falling in love with Mackey.

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn’t do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey’s past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.

Dividers

Review: The Story:

When I read this book the end of last year, I was wrecked. This amazing, brilliant story took me on an emotional journey that even though I had read the reviews and heard what people were saying, I still wasn’t expecting it. I laughed and got angry, became an inconsolable blubbering, crying mess. It was awesome. For me, it is a story I have to be in the mood to read, though, because as much as I loved it, it is not one that I will probably pick up and reread as often as others, but it is there when I want to be torn apart and put back together again (every once in a while I need that). Reading this story, you get to watch a group of kids grow up and go through more than what a lot of people will ever go through. It isn’t pretty most of the time, it was hard and they had to work for it, they got hurt and hurt themselves, hurt others and ones they loved, but they stuck it out together. You get to see how strong they can be on their own, knowing that if they fall, there is a whole band of brothers there to catch them and carry them if needed.

Review: The Narration:

I saw that this book was out in audio and immediately added it to my wish list. I haven’t listened to any of Amy Lane’s books on audio, and knew that this one was going to be my first. It is by far my favorite of her books, and I couldn’t wait to listen to it. Five minutes after I received it, I put my headphones on and jumped right in. And then, it went downhill for me.

About an hour or two in, I had to stop listening and really was struggling because I love this book, I loved this story, but I was not liking the audio. I know sometimes my mood can affect what I like to read and listen to, though, so I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace for it then. I switched over and listened to a different favorite and about a week later, I gave Beneath the Stain another shot. After another hour, I still just couldn’t get into it. There was something about the voices and the flow that just didn’t work for me.

I get that an audiobook is someone reading the book to you, but it shouldn’t seem like I am literally being read to, but that was how it was coming off. And then I though some of the narration came across a little cheesy, and I really struggled. I wanted to love the audio as much as I loved reading the book, but it just wasn’t happening, and I thought about not be able to finish it. I started seeing other reviews of the audiobook, and everyone else seemed to love it, so then I thought I must be missing something and decided to try and push through.

I started again and after about the 4-5 hour mark, I knew I would make it through. The more I listened the less I struggled with the narration, and realized more that it wasn’t the main characters I had an issue with as much as the secondary character voices. Through this experience I have realized that I really should listen to the audio samples since, of course, just like every book has people who will like it or not, the same will be said for a narrator. Unfortunately, this narrator just wasn’t for me, not for this book. But, in the end I was glad I listened, if for no other reason than my love of the story.

TNA_Signature_Karen






You can buy Beneath the Stain here:

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3 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Amy, Sean Michael

Audiobook Review: Cupcakes by Sean Michael – Narrated by Jeff Gelder

Title: Cupcakes

Author: Sean Michael

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours, 52 Minutes

At a Glance: Both the story and the narration of Cupcakes were disappointing.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Allen Jameson had it all—the perfect house, the perfect partner, the perfect life—until his partner, Gary, died suddenly, leaving him alone in the real world, where life isn’t so pretty and people make mistakes. Now Allen is the owner of Sweet ‘n’ Sassy Cupcake Shop, a cute boutique downtown, where he invents delicious flavors like strawberry and French meringue. Between working long hours and making special orders, Allen barely has time to think.

Then a hunky contractor walks into his shop looking for a treat. Allen and Byron Bannigan are total opposites, but they’re perfect together—salty and sweet like Allen’s signature peanut butter and chocolate ganache cupcakes. But as Allen struggles to juggle his business and his boyfriend, he learns he can only handle so much. He may have to choose between the cupcakes in his store and the cupcake in his bed.

Dividers

Review: Where to begin… I have a very special place in my heart for Sean Michael’s books. One of the very first books I read in this genre was Jarheads. The author has an amazing way of putting mass amounts of sex in a book and absolutely showing the depth of emotion through that sex. Taking all of that into consideration, I picked this book, and had extremely high expectations. What I found, though, was that it was overly sweet, with a ton of endearments and no growth in the characters throughout the story. I really did want to like Alan, the main character, and, for the most part, I did care what happened to him. Unfortunately, by the end of the story I felt that if anything, his progression as a character went backwards. His insecurities got repetitive and drawn out. The weird way the story went towards the end was strange as well. I feel that if this book had been a bit shorter, I might have liked it more. On a positive note, I am normally not a fan of insta-love, but this love between Allen and Byron worked for me. Overall, while I was disappointed in this story, I won’t stop insta-buying Sean Michael’s work, as I am a huge fan.

Narration: Jeff Gelder was the narrator of Cupcakes. Unfortunately, he was subpar as well. I felt like he was actually reading the story to himself versus narrating it for me. There were awkward pauses and sometimes, with the character POV changes, I had to stop a few times because I couldn’t tell who was talking.

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You can buy Cupcakes here:

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

Audio Review: Rack & Ruin by Charlie Cochet – Narrated by Mark Westfield

Audio Gem

Title: Rack & Ruin (THIRDS: Book Three)

Author: Charlie Cochet

Narrator: Mark Westfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 6 minutes

At a glance: This Audiobook and narrator are without a doubt the best I have listened to in some time. Putting this incredible author and narrator together is a pairing made in heaven.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: New York City’s streets are more dangerous than ever with the leaderless Order of Adrasteia and the Ikelos Coalition, a newly emerged Therian group, at war. Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire and although the THIRDS round up more and more members of the Order in the hopes of keeping the volatile group from reorganizing, the members of the Coalition continue to escape and wreak havoc in the name of vigilante justice.

Worse yet, someone inside the THIRDS has been feeding the Coalition information. It’s up to Destructive Delta to draw out the mole and put an end to the war before anyone else gets hurt. But to get the job done, the team will have to work through the aftereffects of the Therian Youth Center bombing. A skirmish with Coalition members leads Agent Dexter J. Daley to a shocking discovery and suddenly it becomes clear that the random violence isn’t so random. There’s more going on than Dex and Sloane originally believed, and their fiery partnership is put to the test. As the case takes an explosive turn, Dex and Sloane are in danger of losing more than their relationship.

Dividers

Review: All I can say is LOVE LOVE LOVE. If I could give this 10 stars, I would. Every single aspect of this audiobook held my attention and kept me coming back for more.

Charlie Cochet writes the perfect blend of comedy, angst, and action. From Dex’s demented sense of humor involving a coffee mug, to Maddock cutting Sloane’s hair, to the scene where Sloane and Dex’s relationship is revealed to a friend, Charlie keeps you laughing through really serious and scary situations. This team goes through a lot, but humor makes Rack & Ruin feel light. The author gives you closure to the case they are investigating within the book, but definitely keeps you anticipating the next book. Rack & Ruin has a devastating ending, with many open ended questions; however, this doesn’t make me angry or frustrating. Charlie Cochet tied enough of the story together to satisfy me, while the anticipation eats me up.

Narration: Before picking this audiobook for review, I had previously read it and loved it; however, the narrator, Mark Westfield, brought the THIRDS to life. Mark had me riveted; crying, I was laughing so hard, and then other times simply just crying.

Each character has a different voice and tone, and the action sequences were suspenseful and believable. I don’t know how Westfield does it, but he takes me back to the Radio Days of the past, when props and sound effect were used without seeming kitschy or overdone. He gives a master class narration. When I was done listening to this, I was sad because it was over. This audiobook and narrator are without a doubt the best I have listened to. Putting this incredible author and narrator together is a pairing made in heaven.

TNA_Signature_Amy






You can buy Rack & Ruin here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, M.J. O'Shea, Narration Rating - 3 Stars, Reviewed by Amy

Audio Review: Newton’s Laws of Attraction by M.J. O’Shea – Narrated by George Somerset

Title: Newton’s Laws of Attraction

Author: M.J. O’Shea

Narrator:: George Somerset

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours, 57 Minutes

At a Glance: Only because of M.J. O’Shea’s brilliant writing was I able to get through this Audiobook.

Reviewed By: Amy

Blurb: Rory was Ben’s oldest and best friend until senior year of high school, when they confessed they’d harbored feelings for each other all along. They enjoyed only a few months of happiness until Ben chose closeted popularity over true love… and he’s regretted it ever since.

Eight years later, Ben is out and proud and teaching art at the same high school he graduated from. When he learns the chemistry teacher is retiring, he’s excited to meet her replacement until he finds out the brand new teacher is none other than Rory Newton—the first love he’s never quite gotten over. Despite a painfully awkward start, it doesn’t take Ben long to realize he’ll do whatever it takes to win Rory back. But it’s starting to look like even his best might not be enough.

Dividers

Review: M.J. O’Shea’s writing is so incredible. This story is simple and sweet, and starts out by showing childhood friends Ben and Rory going through puberty; then realizing they have fallen in love. The tentative touches and unsure nature of their sexual relationship is kept sweet and innocent, just like them. What you also saw was how young Rory and Ben were. You saw how peer pressure can simply destroy something beautiful. At a young age, we are not as equipped to handle confrontation and do the right thing. We think we would do the right thing, or at least hope we would, but we all know that happily-ever-after doesn’t always start at sixteen. Looking back, Ben sees how trivial being liked by his new teammates was, but at sixteen…it was overwhelming, and he destroyed that young love.

Eight years later, you again meet Ben, the better version of Ben. He is out and working at the same school he grew up in. You encounter Ben the day the new Chem teacher, and his old love, Rory, strolls back into Ben’s life. Again what M.J. O’Shea succeeds in is making Ben and the audience relive Ben’s mistakes by seeing throughout the second part of this story the hurt that lives in Rory. O’Shea proceeds to have these two characters dance slowly around their continued attraction.

I adore everything about this book.

Narrator: Unfortunately, however, George Somerset was NOT the right choice for Newton’s Laws of Attraction. Only because of the author’s brilliant writing was I able to get through this book. Somerset’s voice put me to sleep. He was monotone and whispered half the time. It actually grated on my nerves. I stayed with it only because I hadn’t read the book and really loved the story, and I wanted to know what happened to these characters.






You can buy Newton’s Laws of Attraction here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Karen, Rhys Ford

Audio Review: Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Title: Down and Dirty (A Cole McGinnis Mystery Spinoff)

Author: Rhys Ford

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 43 Minutes

At a Glance: I don’t have a vast collection of audiobooks, but I can say this may be one of the best narrators I have listened to.

Reviewed By: Karen

Blurb: From the moment former LAPD detective Bobby Dawson spots Ichiro Tokugawa, he knows the man is trouble. And not just because the much younger Japanese inker is hot, complicated, and pushes every one of Bobby’s buttons. No, Ichi is trouble because he’s Cole McGinnis’ younger brother and off-limits in every possible way. And Bobby knows that even before Cole threatens to kill him for looking Ichi’s way. But despite his gut telling him Ichi is bad news, Bobby can’t stop looking…or wanting.

Ichi was never one to play by the rules. Growing up in Japan as his father’s heir, he’d been bound by every rule imaginable until he had enough and walked away from everything to become his own man. Los Angeles was supposed to be a brief pitstop before he moved on, but after connecting with his American half brothers, it looks like a good city to call home for a while–if it weren’t for Bobby Dawson.

Bobby is definitely a love-them-and-leave-them type, a philosophy with which Ichi wholeheartedly agrees. Family was as much of a relationship as Ichi was looking for, but something about the gruff and handsome Bobby Dawson makes him want more.

Much, much more.

Dividers

Review: So…I love Rhys Ford! Her books are an auto-buy for me. I recently started listening to audiobooks and, of course, added hers to my wish-list right off the top. Unfortunately I am not able to get audiobooks often, so this is the first book in the Cole McGinnis series that I have listened to. (I know…gasp!) I usually don’t like reading or listening to a series out of order, I am kind of OCD about it, but this was one of my favorite books in the series, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to listen to and review it. This book is kind of different from the others in the series. Besides the fact it focuses on Bobby and Ichi, it also doesn’t have the mystery/murder aspect in it, which I think is alright since that is more Cole and Jae’s story, and this one isn’t about Cole and Jae. This is just a story about a couple falling in love, and that is perfectly fine with me. Sometime you want/need that little breather in a story, a little sidebar that makes you love the other characters as much as the main characters, and gives you a minute to breathe. That’s how I see this story, and I love it!

Now, the narration….OMG, Greg Tremblay is amazing! His narration made me love the characters even more than I did when I read the books. Bobby is all grumbly and almost just like I heard him in my head when I was reading. I think his accents were awesome, and a couple of times I found it hard to believe that it was only one person doing everyone’s voices. My favorite part of the audio was probably Bobby telling Cole about him and Ichi, and everything that followed…too funny! The characters kind of fumbling their words, the inflections in the voices…I was cracking up!

Now to help control my OCD, I have moved the first four in the series up to the top of my wish-list because I can’t wait to listen to the rest of this series (like I want to listen RIGHT NOW! LOL!) . I will also be checking out the other audios Greg Tremblay has done ASAP. As I said, I don’t have a vast collection of audiobooks, but I can say that this may be one of the best narrators I have listened to.

TNA_Signature_Karen






You can buy Down and Dirty here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Charlie Cochet, Dreamspinner Press, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Chris, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Blood & Thunder by Charlie Cochet – Narrated by Mark Westfield

Audio Gem

Title: Blood & Thunder (THIRDS: Book Two)

Author: Charlie Cochet

Narrator: Mark Westfield

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 50 Minutes

At a Glance: This is another fantastic entry in the THIRDS series.

Reviewed By: Chris

Blurb: When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta, and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.

Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.

Dividers

Review: So, if you’ve seen my reviews here for the audiobook of Hell & High Water and Rack & Ruin, you know I’m just a little bit addicted to the THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet. This is a book obsession I happily admit I can’t get enough of in any form.

I honestly didn’t think there was a way that Mark Westfield would be able to top his performance in Hell & High Water. Boy, was I ever wrong! If anything else, Mark was able to get deeper into the characters, especially Dex and Sloane. Okay, I know I’m biased because I’m a total Dex fangirl, but seriously, Mark Westfield becomes Dex in this audiobook.
Now, on to the storyline … In Hell & High Water the focus was on world building and introducing the characters. In Blood & Thunder, character development and growth is the focus, with the relationship building aspect on Sloane and Dex. This story also shows within the storyline how close Destructive Delta has become again, with the inclusion of Dex, and starts delving into other personal relationships within the team and in the THIRDS series.

There are some ‘laugh so hard you snort your drink’ moments in this book. The Therian Training class with Dex and Sloane was one of the most humorous moments in the book. Imagine Dex being Dex, trying to show off how to work with your Therian partner to a class of new human/Therian agent pairs. There are some of the best one-liners in this short section, along with Sloane licking Dex in the ear, which annoys the piss out of him, and Dex taunting Sloane till he chases him.

We also have some darker aspects to the book, delving more into Ash and Sloane’s time in the labs, Sloane’s feelings for Dex, and even Dex’s own doubts about himself. Overall, this was another fantastic entry in the THIRDS series and while I’ve read the others, I highly anticipate hearing what Mark Westfield does with the books on audio.

TNA_Signature_CHRIS






You can buy Blood & Thunder here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Reviewed by Karen

Audio Review: After the Sunset by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Sean Crisden

Audio Gem

Title:  After the Sunset

Author:  Mary Calmes

Narrator: Sean Crisden

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Run Time:  4 Hours, 57 Minutes

At a Glance:  I found this audio so fun and cute that it had me sitting here listening to it with a smile on my face.

Reviewed By:  Karen

Blurb:  Two years after riding off into the sunset with ranch owner Rand Holloway, Stefan Joss has made a tentative peace with his new life, teaching at a community college. But the course of true love never does run smooth. Rand wants him home on the ranch; Stef wants an exit strategy in case Rand ever decides to throw him out. Finally, after recognizing how unfair he’s being, Stef makes a commitment, and Rand is over the moon.

When Stef gets the chance to prove his devotion, he doesn’t hesitate – despite the risk to his health – and Rand takes the opportunity to show everyone that sometimes life’s best surprises come after the sunset.

Dividers

Review:  About the story, well…it’s a Mary Calmes book.  One character is all alpha and grumbly and the other is fun and sweet, and, of course, you love them both and love them together, because really…how can you not?

Timing, the first book in this series, is one of the first audiobooks I ever bought, and I loved it.   It is one of my go to audiobooks when I’m looking for something to listen to and I can’t get something new, so I have listened to it multiple times. After the Sunset will now be another go to.

I think Sean Crisden did an awesome job narrating this book!  For the most part, the voices of the different characters were distinct and even if I wasn’t closely following, I could, in most cases, tell one character from the other.  For me, since I do most of my audiobook listening while I am at work, if I am distracted for a minute this can make things difficult for me to follow, but I had no issues with this audio.  Rand’s voice and emotions I thought were done even better in this audio than in Timing.

Then there is Stefan…I love him!  I loved him when I read the books, I loved him when I listed to the audio of Timing, and in After the Sunset I loved him even more.  The audio of Stef’s character I think made him even more likable than he was when I read the book, and it was because of his character I think that I found this audio so fun and cute that it had me sitting here listening to it with a smile on my face. :)

TNA_Signature_Karen






You can buy After the Sunset here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Jay Northcote, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote – Narrated by Michael Pauley

Audio Gem

Title: Nothing Serious

Author: Jay Northcote

Narrator:: Michael Pauley

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 4 Hours, 3 Minutes

At a Glance: My heart was just racing, right along with Mark and Jamie!

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over, and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close, and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

Dividers

Review: WOW! Just plain and simple WOW! This audio gets right back to the basics of M/M romance: lots of steamy sex between two hot guys. The twist I thought was refreshing was that instead of the older man, Mark, showing the younger man, Jamie, how gay sex works, it’s the other way around. And Jamie does a great job as the teacher.

As I was listening to the audio I was trying to think what it reminded me of. The narrator’s style, that is. Picture this: you are watching a movie, an action movie, you can’t hear the words the actors are saying, but you can hear the music. I compare this to the narration of Nothing Serious. At the beginning of the movie it’s calm and tentative, soothing music, somewhat sad, like when Mark is moving out and ending his relationship with Rachel. As the plot thickens, Jamie has dinner with Mark; the music gets slightly faster, like it’s starting to build up speed but not roaring yet. Then, when Jamie and Mark have sex for the first time, the music’s tempo quickly picks up speed and gets louder and louder. That’s how the narrator, Michael Pauley, sounded during the scenes when Jamie and Mark are in the bedroom. Loud and Fast! Between each encounter Jamie and Mark have, the music calms down and the tempo slows down. Until the next time, and BAM! we’re off to the races again.

Just like an action/adventure movie’s soundtrack sets the pace of the movie, the narrator’s speed and volume set the intensity for this book. Does it work? Yes, it does! My heart was just racing, right along with Mark and Jamie!

Good Job!






You can buy Nothing Serious here:

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Blue Days by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Greg Tremblay

Audio Gem

Title: Blue Days

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours, 49 Minutes

At a Glance: I’m definitely recommending Blue Days in audio!

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Falling for a coworker is rarely a good idea, especially for a man getting a last chance at salvaging his career. But from the moment Dwyer Knolls sees the beautiful but socially awkward Takeo Hiroyuki, he seems destined to make bad decisions.
Takeo’s life is a string of failed attempts to please his traditional Japanese father. Unfortunately, succeeding in business turns out to be just as difficult for Takeo as changing from gay to straight. In fact, the only thing Takeo seems to truly excel at is taking notice of Dwyer Knolls.

When Dwyer and Takeo head to Mangrove, Florida on a real estate buying trip, their tentative friendship combusts and becomes much more. Is their sudden connection real enough to bank their futures on, or should they chalk the whole thing up to the daze inspired by the blue ocean breeze?

Dividers

Review: I skipped buying Blue Days, the e-book, once I saw who the narrator of the audiobook was. Greg Tremblay is one of my absolute favorite narrators, and I have yet to hesitate to listen to any of his audio performances. I know that if I’d tried to read the e-book first, I would have taken my time with it, but once I heard Greg start his narration, my ears stayed well in tune to the story as it was being told. The man is a genius when it comes to bringing his characters to life, and Dwyer and Takeo took shape with Greg’s very talented voice.

The reason Blue Days is a book I would have taken my time reading was because the story started off a bit slow for me. But, once the business Dwyer was working for finished with all the layoffs and introductions to the new people hired, it really picked up. The two MCs begin their slow building friendship, which eventually ripens into something more than just friends. There’s no insta-love here for these two.

I know not many people liked Takeo in the story, but seeing him through Dwyer’s eyes, and Greg’s narration, he just grew on me to the point I wanted to hug him and squeeze him and take him home with me. Once again, Mary Calmes has succeeded in giving me that warm fuzzy feeling in my chest, not to mention a few laugh out loud moments too.

I’m definitely recommending Blue Days in audio!






You can buy Blue Days here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, John Inman, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Serenading Stanley by John Inman – Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Audio Gem

Title: Serenading Stanley

Author: John Inman

Narrator:: Tyler Stevens

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours, 2 Minutes

At a Glance: I loved listening to Serenading Stanley, loved the fact there was more than one romance going on, and offer thanks to these wonderfully talented men

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: Welcome to the Belladonna Arms, a rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn. Shy archeology student Stanley Sternbaum has just moved in and fills his time quietly observing his eccentric neighbors, avoiding his hellion mother, and trying his best to go unnoticed… which proves to be a problem when it comes to fellow tenant Roger Jane. Smitten, the hunky nurse with beautiful green eyes does everything in his power to woo Stanley, but Stanley has always lived a quiet life, too withdrawn from the world to take a chance on love. Especially with someone as beautiful as Roger Jane.

While Roger tries to batter down Stanley’s defenses, Stanley turns to his new neighbors to learn about love: Ramon, who’s not afraid to give his heart to the wrong man; Sylvia, the trans who just wants to be a woman, and the secret admirer who loves her just the way she is; Arthur, the aging drag queen who loves them all, expecting nothing in return—and Roger, who has been hurt once before but is still willing to risk his heart on Stanley, if Stanley will only look past his own insecurities and let him in.

Dividers

Review: Since I gave an earlier review of the e-book version of Serenading Stanley, I mainly want to talk about the audio version in this review. If it came down to a choice between re-reading this book or listening to the audiobook again, the audio wins hands down. In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about Tyler Stevens’ performance, but as he warmed up to the story, all I can say about his characterizations and how he performed his lines is that it’s an absolute joy to listen to. And what a sexy voice he has when it comes to the more intimate parts of this story.

Stevens’ narration of Stanley’s mother was to die laughing for, especially during the haircut scene when she was with Ramon, but he also did a fantastic job when it came to the more tender moments of the story, such as when Roger was beside himself convincing Stanley where his heart lay, or when Sylvia ended up at the hospital.

I loved listening to Serenading Stanley, loved the fact there was more than one romance going on, and offer thanks to these wonderfully talented men—John Inman for writing such an awesome and funny story; and to Tyler Stevens for an outstanding performance. They made Serenading Stanley well worth a read, a listen, and this book has earned a permanent spot on my faves shelf. I can hardly wait to re-read and listen to Work in Progress, the second installment in the Belladonna Arms series.






You can buy Serenading Stanley here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: The Trouble With Tony by Eli Easton – Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

Audio Gem

Title: The Trouble With Tony (Sex in Seattle: Book One)

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator:: Tommy O’Brien

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 3 Hours, 12 Minutes

At a Glance: Tommy O’Brien is great, and I look forward to hearing his narration again.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: As part of the investigation into the murder of a young woman, Seattle P.I. Tony DeMarco poses as a patient of Dr. Jack Halloran, the therapist who treated the victim at a Seattle sex clinic. This isn’t the first time Tony has gone undercover, but it’s the first time he’s wanted to go under covers with one of his suspects. He can’t help it –Jack Halloran is just the kind of steely eyed hero Tony likes. But he’ll have to prove Halloran’s innocence and keep the doctor from finding out about his ruse before he can play Romeo.

Dr. Halloran has his own issues, including a damaged right arm sustained in the line of duty as a combat surgeon in Iraq and the PTSD that followed. He’s confused to find himself attracted to a new patient, the big, funny Italian with the puppy-dog eyes, and Tony’s humor slips right past Jack’s defenses, making him feel things he thought long buried. But can the doctor and the P.I. find a path to romance despite the secrets between them?

Dividers

Review: I have pretty much loved all of Eli Easton’s books and audiobooks, but gosh, I loved this audio and the book a lot!

I discovered this author by listening to Blame it on the Mistletoe. Both the book and audiobook kept coming up when I’d search for a new book to read or audio to listen to, but I ignored the suggestion mainly because I had never read the author, and I like audios and books that are longer—I like detail! Needless to say, I caved and bought the audio version, and I was hooked! The narrator, Jason Frazier, was incredible, and the story was sexy, funny and full of detail. Everything Eli Easton had written I wanted to read, and everything Jason Frazier narrated, I wanted to listen to.

I read the entire Sex in Seattle series in one weekend. To my delight, each book told a different story, a complete story with lots of detail and humor. After I finished each book, I wanted more, so it was a no-brainer when The Trouble With Tony became available for review. My only hesitation was it was a different narrator. Would I like it as much?

When you read a book, you don’t hear the accents. That’s sounds strange; of course you don’t hear the accents—it’s a book, right? But when you listen to The Trouble With Tony, Tommy O’Brien is Tony, and Tony is an Italian from Brooklyn. When he talks with his family on the phone, it’s just great to listen to, and Tony’s mom is great too. Read the book then listen to the audio, and you will see what I mean.

I have listened to this audiobook three times, and every time I laugh at the scene in the clinic when Tony is talking to Jack about his “sexual problem.” Picky dick. Limp-phatic. Tenderizing the steak. And my favorite, spanking the monkey–you know when you’re in traffic, and you’re laughing, like BIG LAUGHING, and people give you really strange looks? Well, with The Trouble With Tony, I couldn’t have stopped even if I’d wanted to. It’s just that funny.

My recommendation is to read the book and buy the audio, then wait for the next two books in the series to come out in audio and buy them too. Tommy O’Brien is great, and I look forward to hearing his narration again.






You can buy The Trouble With Tony here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Ethan Day, Reviewed by Jules, Romantic Comedy, Wilde City Press

Audio Review: As You Are by Ethan Day – Narrated by Jason Frazier

Audio Gem

Title: As You Are

Author: Ethan Day

Narrator:: Jason Frazier

Publisher: Wilde City Press

Run Time: 5 Hours, 51 Minutes

At a Glance: In a word – FABULOUS.

Reviewed By: Jules

Blurb: Operation Danny….

That’s all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind for the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he’s in love with the boy next door: the one in the next room to be exact, his roommate, Danny Wallace.

Danny owns a used textbook store just off campus, and while Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work appears to have been in vain. Danny doesn’t seem to view Julian as anything other than that–a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can’t think of a good reason to say no.

Julian has already instituted a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he’s positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He’s ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill.

Dividers

Review: In a word – FABULOUS. Jason Frazier’s performance of Ethan Day’s As You Are will blow you away. And make no mistake that it is a performance. There is no droning or awkward narration here. Jason’s performance is a tour de force, including at least eight different voices, and covering the entire spectrum of emotions.

We can’t give ALL of the credit to Frazier, though; he had some pretty fantastic material to work with after all. As You Are is hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud, or simply realized I had a goofy grin on my face while listening. I’m sure my fellow commuters had a chuckle at my expense on more than one occasion as I made my way to and from work. It’s not just a funny book, however. There are also many poignant and touching moments to go along with the biting social commentary and awesome pop culture references.

A huge part of what makes this book so good are the characters themselves. They must have been so much fun to perform. I couldn’t possibly adore Julian more, and while, of course, he and Danny are front and center, I also got a huge kick out of Julian’s best friend Gabby, as well as Julian’s mother, Delilah Hallowell. I love, love, loved me some Delilah.

There are so many memorable moments in this audio it’s difficult to highlight just a few – and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will tell you there is a football game in the park that is pee-your-pants funny, and if you weren’t completely in love with Julian before his ‘sobbing while watching Anne of Green Gables’ moment, you will be afterward. There is also a hysterical dinner party scene, as well as some absolutely blush-worthy sexytimes. I’m not kidding when I tell you I had to fan myself while listening to parts of this book. Jason Frazier’s voice is like butter, people! Butter!

I highly recommend this one. As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of audiobooks, but Jason Frazier has converted me. Full stop. I fear he has ruined me for other narrators, though, so he had better keep getting gigs! ;)






You can buy As You Are here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Mary Calmes, Paranormal Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Old Loyalty, New Love by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Tristan James

Audio Gem

Title: Old Loyalty, New Love (L’Ange: Book One)

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Tristan James

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 8 Hours

At a Glance: Old Loyalty, New Love is another winner well worth the listen.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: When jackal shifter Quade Danas was banished from his pack for being gay, he spent years in the military escaping his father’s prejudice before returning to civilian life as a bodyguard for Roman Howell, the teenage son of a very rich man. After Roman is in an accident that leaves him physically scarred and emotionally distant, Quade is the only one who can get through to him. As Roman becomes a man, he realizes what he wants—his bodyguard by his side and in his bed. Unfortunately, Quade can’t seem to see past the kid Roman once was to the man he has become, certain Roman’s feelings are merely misplaced gratitude. But Roman knows a lot more than Quade realizes, and he’s used to persevering, no matter how many impediments life throws his way. He wants the chance to prove to Quade that he’s strong enough for a jackal alpha to call mate.

Despite the decades Quade has been away, and the heartache of his father’s rejection, his inborn loyalty to the pack remains, and his abrupt departure left the jackal shifters without an alpha heir. As a psychopath shifter staking claim as alpha draws Quade back home, and Quade feels compelled to heed the call, he may be forced to make a choice he never anticipated. But doing so means he must leave Roman behind… unless somehow they find a way to make loyalty and love work together.

Dividers

Review: Since Jackie did another great review of the e-book version of Old Loyalty, New Love, I’m going to just give the review of the audio version.

If you love audiobooks and you love Mary Calmes, then Old Loyalty, New Love is another winner well worth the listen. I picked it up just because 1.) Mary Calmes wrote it, and 2.) Tristan James is one of my top favorites in narrators. I just loved how the story was told and BONUS!, once I saw there was another audiobook in the same series, I quickly picked that one up also and was able to segue into the next book without missing a beat.

Quade may be a tough Alpha, but he’s fast becomes a big old pushover when it comes to Roman’s charms. I’m a softie myself when it comes to stories that involve an MC who has been physically damaged and overcomes his disfigurement, and moves on with his life.

I love how Tristan narrates by giving each character their own voice, with no confusion on who’s speaking, as I’ve experience with other narrators, as well as building the tension in the more suspenseful parts of the story. And damn, Tristan has one sexy sultry voice worth listening too.

Mary Calmes, I hoping you’re working hard on the third book in the L’Ange series. I’m waiting patiently, but I’m not getting any younger!






You can buy Old Loyalty, New Love here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kim Fielding, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Housekeeping by Kim Fielding – Narrated by K.C. Kelly

Title: Housekeeping

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator:: K.C. Kelly

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours, 42 Minutes

At a Glance: Even if I’m reluctant to try an audiobook, knowing Kelly’s work through previous experience is a sure bet I won’t be disappointed in the narration.

Reviewed By: Kim

Blurb: When Nicky Hauser walks in on his restaurant-owner boyfriend having sex with a waiter, Nicky loses his lover, his job, and his home all in one night. Although he’s nearly thirty, he’s never settled on a true career, and he has nothing to show for his years with Tom. Depressed and unable to find work, Nicky ends up couch-surfing with friends until he lands a house-sitting gig for a wealthy family.

When Nicky’s clients discover that he loves to clean, demand for his services skyrockets. Word of mouth leads him to Spencer Cartwright, a busy computer consultant and a slob. Spencer and his wife divorced when he came out, but he’s never found the time or courage to settle down with a man. As Nicky sets Spencer’s house to rights, the two men find friendship. But Nicky’s past experiences make him wary of risking everything on love.

Dividers

Review: Since there’s an ebook review of Housekeeping done by our very own sweet Jackie, and she wrote such a wonderful review, I decided to try the audible version of Housekeeping instead of only reading the ebook. Not to mention Kim Fielding is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. I just love the stories I’ve listen to or read by her so far. She has a writing style that grabs you from the first page on, and I found that Housekeeping is a romance I enjoyed listening too.

Nicky is someone I would absolutely love to come live with me—a man who loves to clean…need I say more? I just thought it was a shame his previous boyfriend was such a sleaze.

As for Spencer, he’s cute in his own way, even if he is a slob, and I was so tickled pink when I found out that this was no rushed romance. These two MCs take their time getting to know each other, and I love a story that allows the couple interaction and getting to know each other instead of the WHAM BAM, now we’re in love version of romance.

Another plus for Housekeeping is K.C. Kelly, who is one of my favorite narrators. Even if I’m reluctant to try an audiobook, knowing Kelly’s work through previous experience is a sure bet I won’t be disappointed in the narration. I love that he throws something called emotion into his narrating without overdoing it, and he’s got a voice that sure as heck doesn’t put me to sleep, which is not good, especially while I’m driving.

So, I would recommend this audiobook or the ebook version of Housekeeping to anyone who loves a sweet, getting-to-know-you romance. I would do a re-listen just for the fact that Nicky is my fantasy man when it comes to cleaning. My toes are curling on this one since I’m a little OCD myself.






You can buy Housekeeping here:

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5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Renae Kaye, Reviewed by Kathie

Audio Review: Loving Jay by Renae Kaye – Narrated by Dave Gillies

Audio Gem

Title: Loving Jay

Author: Renae Kaye

Narrator:: Dave Gillies

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 6 Hours, 24 Minutes

At a Glance: Easily in the top 5 of my favorite audiobooks.

Reviewed By: Kathie

Blurb: One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

Dividers

Review: Loving Jay, the book, is an exceptional read. Listening to Loving Jay, narrated by Dave Gillies, is like taking a trip to Australia for the mere price of an audiobook . It’s easily in the top 5 of my favorite audiobooks.

Loving Jay by Renae Kaye has won countless awards, all very deserving, and adding Dave Gillies as the narrator for the audio version was just a genius move. His vocalization took the whole book up a notch. Now not only was I listening to a great book, but I was able to escape to Australia by way of an incredible narrator. I laughed, I cried, I worried for Liam coming out to his family, and most of all, I celebrated the love that Liam and Jay were able to find. It was such a win-win for me as the listener.

Would I recommend that you buy the audiobook of Loving Jay, even if you have read the book. OH, HELL YES!!! My recommendation is read the book first and then listen to the audio. You will enjoy the book, it’s a great story about love. Listening to the audio is like going on a vacation. I’d never heard of Perth, Australia, but now I am searching out travel blogs about Western Australia and planning my next trip to go there. Thank you, Renae and Dave, you opened up another part of the world for me.






You can buy Loving Jay here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Eli Easton, Holiday Romance, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: A Prairie Dog’s Love Song by Eli Easton – Narrated by Michael Stellman

Title: A Prairie Dog’s Love Song

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator:: Michael Stellman

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 2 Hours, 5 Minutes

At a Glance: If you loved the book, then you’re in for a treat with the audio version.

Blurb: Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star—in porn—he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.

Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.

Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s “lost cause” horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.

Dividers

Review: Our very own Jackie did an awesome review of A Prairie Dog’s Love Song over a year ago, and I was so impressed by it that I immediately went out and got my own e-copy of the book. I simply adore Eli Easton’s stories a majority of the time, but this one didn’t hit me like her other Christmas stories. For me, it didn’t work because I really love to see my characters intermingle with each other throughout the book. I had mixed feelings because I love to see the good, the bad, and the truly ugly when two people start to admit their feelings. In A Prairie Dog’s Love Song the two characters, Joshua and Ben, are together briefly at the beginning and a little bit towards the end. Mostly the story was about Joshua coming to grips with going public about his sexuality. Which is fine. Like I said, my problem was more in missing a connection with both characters.

Now, I know mood can sometimes affect a story, so when I saw that this book had come out on audio I thought to myself, what am awesome way to give a story a second chance. Believe me when I say this: I’ve changed my mind about A Prairie Dog’s Love Song thanks to the change in perspective I’ve been given. By listening to the story, and it being given a different voice, it was a heck of an improvement over the voice I’d given it in my imagination. I got more out of A Prairie Dog’s Love Song than when I read it, so it’s moved up a notch in my opinion, and I can finally agree with Jackie’s review.

Michael Stellman has become one of my many favorite narrators, and I can’t seem to get enough of him. I love how he brought A Prairie Dog’s Love Song to life, and even though the characters didn’t mingle that much together, at least I got to know them better individually through Michael’s narration.

If you’re like me and didn’t like the book, you may want to give the audiobook a chance. It sure changed my original opinion. If you loved the book, then you’re in for a treat with the audio version.






You can buy A Prairie Dog’s Love Song here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4 Stars, Audio Book, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Kathie, SJD Peterson

Audio Review: BAMF by SJD Peterson – Narrated by Adam Dort

Title: BAMF

Author: SJD Peterson

Narrator:: Adam Dort

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 5 Hours, 58 Minutes

At a Glance: I liked BAMF and liked the give and take relationship Alex and Ridley grew into

Blurb: With his fauxhawk, sleeve tattoos, and visible piercings, Ridley Corbin has the whole bad ass vibe going on in spades. The image serves him well as the self-proclaimed protector of the underdog, and he wants nothing more than to be Alex Firestone’s hero.

Alex, a mild-mannered library assistant, has moved to Slater, a quiet college town, hoping to hide from his past. He keeps to himself, but that doesn’t save him from catching the unwanted attention of the campus bully. But not all is as it seems. Alex’s past comes calling, and it’s time he becomes top dog.

Dividers

Review: If you like a little kink with your story, BAMF is the book for you. If you prefer to listen to a story about a mild-mannered library assistant and a bad-ass college student, then BAMF isn’t the book for you, and I have to say I feel the blurb for this book is misleading. I had never read SJD Peterson before mostly because I am not a fan of BDSM, and I know most of her books seem to work on some variation of that. The first half of this story was rough for me to read/listen to. I maybe would have been comfortable with the rough sex, but Ridley wasn’t and took the pain because he didn’t want to be seen as a weak, immature college student who didn’t have the confidence to stand up for himself. Pain and pleasure mixed together was the theme of the first couple of times Ridley and Alex got together, but the next morning the pleasure was gone and all that was left was the pain, described to us in detail, which isn’t an image I necessarily wanted to read about or listen to.

But, the second half of the book was great! And it was at this point (52% in the e-book) Ridley and Alex had to leave Michigan due to a real BAMF named Gutierrez trying to kill them. The FBI moved them to a safe house in Louisiana, where Alex and Ridley enjoyed long days of lovemaking, getting to know each other, fishing, but there was also just a little bit of suspense, waiting to see of Gutierrez’s men would show up to try and kill them again. The lovemaking settled down into partnership; they talked about family and griped about everyday duties such as cooking and dishes. I was hoping there would be another spike in the action, with Gutierrez finding them, but that was not in the cards. The story just kind of slowed to an anticlimactic finish, but they did have a happy ending, both realizing they needed each other.

I liked BAMF and liked the give and take relationship Alex and Ridley grew into. I also liked Adam Dort’s narration. I really thought his voice fit the characters. There’s not a lot of acting projected into the narration, but Adam just reading the story for some reason worked. My only recommendation for this book is to be aware of the rough sex scenes. It’s a good story, maybe just not what you’d expect from the blurb.






You can buy BAMF here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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4.5 Stars, Audio Book, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Mary Calmes, Reviewed by Kim

Audio Review: Floodgates by Mary Calmes – Narrated by Michael Anthony

Title: Floodgates

Author: Mary Calmes

Narrator:: Michael Anthony

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Run Time: 7 Hours, 53 Minutes

At a Glance: Michal Anthony did an excellent job narrating Floodgates

Blurb: Tracy Brandt considers himself a lucky man. He has a wonderful family, good friends, and a dependable job. His love life, however, features a cheating ex who, though out of the house, is not yet out of the picture—with a past that just might get Tracy killed.

Homicide inspector Cord Nolan wants nothing more than to show his best friend’s little brother that he’s a reliable man, but to do that he’ll have to get Tracy to look past the player he used to be. It’ll be a tough sell; reputation is everything, and Cord’s is tarnished by his past indiscretions.

Tracy and Cord have spent five years trying to suffocate their fiery attraction under a blanket of grudging antagonism. When Tracy finds himself with a target on his back, Cord finally has the chance to ride to the rescue and break through the dam of Tracy’s reserve. But he’d better be careful: if Cord is breaking the floodgates to wash away the past, he’s going to have to hold tight to Tracy to make sure they’re still standing when the tumult recedes.

Dividers

Review: Reviewers Note: Since Jackie has already done an awesome review of Floodgates, the e-book, this review will focus only on the audio narration.

Michael Anthony is a new to me narrator and I’ve got to say that after listening to his performance, I took a look on Audible.com to see what other stories he’s narrated. He did an excellent job on Floodgates, offering both a nice sound and visual to the characters he’s portraying. The story didn’t sound rushed, stilted, or even close to drone-like, and I really enjoy an audiobook when I get sucked into the storyline, emotionally. There was a point during the narration that I felt kind of sad, when Tracy and Breckin were finally breaking up. When Breckin was pleading with Tracy to give him another chance, there was that moment when you know it’s over. What can I say? I liked Breckin when I met him for the first time at the car accident scene. I just wish he hadn’t done what he did, and I understood perfectly why Tracy had to do what he did. It was also sweet when Cord realizes that Tracy is finally available. Woohoo!

Since there’s no movie version of Floodgates, the next best thing to do is listen to the audio version of this book. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend Floodgates to Mary Calmes’s fans or to anyone who hasn’t tried her work yet.






You can buy Floodgates here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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5 Stars, Audio Book, JCP Books, Jordan Castillo Price, Reviewed by Lisa, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Audio Review: Body and Soul by Jordan Castillo Price – Narrated by Gomez Pugh

Title: Body and Soul (PsyCop 3)

Author: Jordan Castillo Price

Narrator:: Gomez Pugh

Publisher: JCP Books

Run Time: 4 Hours, 45 Minutes

At a Glance: Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers

Blurb: Thanksgiving can’t end too soon for Victor Bayne, who’s finding Jacob’s family hard to swallow. Luckily, he’s called back to work to track down a high-profile missing person.

Meanwhile, Jacob tries to find a home they can move into that’s not infested – with either cockroaches or ghosts. As if the house-hunting isn’t stressful enough, Vic’s new partner Bob Zigler doesn’t seem to think he can do anything right. A deceased junkie with a bone to pick leads Vic and Zig on a wild chase that ends in a basement full of horrors.

Dividers

Review: I’m hardly an e-book aficionado, considering Body and Soul is the third book in the PsyCop series and is exactly the third audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I must say that when Gomez Pugh introduces the book, even the way he says Jordan Castillo Price’s name resonates on a scale of one to ten as a sexy eleven.

Book Three takes place at Thanksgiving time, which leads to Vic meeting Jacob’s family, which leads to some pretty interesting events around the dinner table. As this series is narrated in the first person from Vic’s point of view, we play witness to the fact, without him stating it point blank, that he has no real clue how to operate within or fit into a family dynamic. What makes it a great scene for the reader, if not for Vic, is the sight he’s treated to sitting across the table from Uncle Leon. I’m not going to say what that is, but it’s darkly humorous and is also a revelation of even the small things Vic is forced to acclimate to because of his sixth sense, not to mention it’s a great way to begin a book—nothing says meet-the-in-laws like a soupcon of the supernatural to add to the discomfort.

In Body and Soul, readers are treated to a greater understanding of Victor Bayne as a character. Details about his past and what he’s lived through are being parsed out in small doses in preparation for a more in depth set of revelations as the series progresses. The one thing we know about Vic for sure, almost from the first moment he’s on page, is that he is a survivor. Sure, he may have to use some pretty good narcotics to help him make it through most days, but with a “gift” like his, a medium’s gotta do what a medium’s gotta do. He shows us a deadpan (pun not intended) humor and a certain vulnerability but a growing confidence, as well, in his relationship with Jacob. Which is still in its infancy but is bringing Vic closer to a home in someone than he’s ever been before. Jacob is Vic’s new “normal”, a normal he can, and wants, to live with.

Vic and Jacob take an important step in their relationship, when Vic says yes to Jacob’s suggestion they move in together. Jacob, who’s always been nothing less than confident, shows a little vulnerability when Vic doesn’t seem to be as excited to live with him as he is to live with Vic. It was a revelation, this glimpse of how much Jacob really loves Vic and wants to be with him, but is willing to be with him on Vic’s terms. In turn, Vic realizes there’s never been anyone who makes him feel the way Jacob does, and let me tell you, it’s one thing to read a hot sex scene. It’s another thing entirely to have it read to you in a deep and seductive voice.

With Vic’s former partner, Maurice, retired; his partner for the blink of an eye, Lisa Gutierrez, falling off the radar while she’s away being trained how to be a PsyCop; and his last partner, Roger, trying to make a human guinea pig out of Vic, we’re introduced in this book to a new partner, Zig. Though he doesn’t say much—he’s not the talkative sort—his actions speak well enough for him and he seems a decent fellow, so prepare for him to be around awhile. Also prepare for a gruesomely touching scene between Vic and Zig that alone puts another macabre touch on what Vic lives with day in and day out.

Their first case together comes at the expense of Vic and Jacob’s long holiday weekend, but people are going missing and Vic gets called in to liaise with the non-living to try to figure out what’s happened to the men and women who’ve disappeared without a trace. The case itself turns out to be even more bizarre when it reveals itself to involve a spiritual ritualism that even Vic has never seen before (just when you think you’ve seen it all), and which gives this book its title. In working this case, we get the chance to see why Vic is such an asset to the “Spook Squad”, as well as why he’s the object of some scorn from the NPs—the non-PsyCops. We also get another delectable peek at Jordan Castillo Price’s imagination and her ability to draw readers in to her unreality.

It can’t be easy for a voice actor to narrate a book, especially considering the fact that actor is providing not only the narrative voice but the dialogue for every character in the book. This means the narrator must sort through his repertoire of accents and vocal pitches to find those that will fit within the story’s setting and suit not only the male but the female characters as well. What’s impressive about Pugh’s vocalization in Body and Soul is the range he manages to employ that brings to life an impressive number of role players in this book. Not only does he have Vic and Jacob down pat, but JCP has included Zig, as well as the Marks family, a few cops, Crash, assorted family members in a missing persons case, the kid at a hot dog stand, the perpetrators of a missing persons crime, and an assortment of ghosts in the book. Body and Soul asks much of Gomez Pugh’s talent, and he, in turn, delivers.

If you love speculative fiction at all, read all the books in this series, listen to the audiobooks that have already been released, love Victor Bayne and Jacob Marks as Jordan Castillo Price has written them, and get to know them a titch better in the way Gomez Pugh has brought them to life.






You can buy Body and Soul (PsyCop 3) here:

Audible.com

Audible.com

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