Loving Jay by Renae Kaye ~ Audio Review

Renae Kaye - Loving Jay Audio Cover 34854gnbTitle: Loving Jay

Series: Loving You 01

Author: Renae Kaye

Narrator: Dave Gillies

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 21 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (31st December 2014)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

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, 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 any-more 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’s known in life has been a convenient lie. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears – and his father – before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Loving Jay is the first book in Renae Kaye’s Loving You series.

This is the second or third book that I’ve listened to or read by Kaye, and I feel that I am warming up to her as an author slowly but surely. For me, an Aussie author writing about her own city (which isn’t on the eastern coast) is major plus for me as a South Australian, despite her books being set in Perth, Western Australia (I always appreciate the digs at the SA football teams too). Since we’re not here for a geography lesson, suffice to say that I connect with the very Aussie tone in her writing. So far there’s been a bit of a pattern in her writing where we have at least one main character who doesn’t want to come out of the closet because of his very blokey workplace (lots of miners) or his very manly-man type father. Not that it’s a bad thing, if you like a book with that sort of storyline.

The narration for this series is performed by Dave Gillies. I do like Gillies accent, despite the fact that he is Scottish, it’s a pretty decent Aussie accent. The only thing that I will make a comment on is that sometimes when the accent slipped I found it a bit annoying, but this was only a momentary thing for me. Overall, he does a brilliant job getting the tone and distinct voices of the various characters, because there is a large cast of guys aside from the main couple.

Loving Jay obviously has a guy called Jay (aka Jamie), who shares a mutual attraction to Liam Turner. Liam and Jay see each other every day at the train station on the way to work.

Liam is inexplicably drawn to the very obviously out and proud gay man, and Liam is fighting it. He doesn’t think that he can be gay. An accident when he was younger gave him a limp and leaves him unable to drive anymore, add to this hearing his dad wanting Liam to be a “proper man” (a real proper bloke), following the football (AFL) and all those other things that seem manly, and Liam is too afraid to face his true self. He’s had a couple failed relationships with women too, which doesn’t help his self-esteem.

But then there is Jay, and Jay is energy and light and love and laughter. At first they get to know each other over coffees at the train station. Then they have lunches. Liam is confused by his feelings for Jay, and Jay is strong throughout it all because his heart has already chosen the confused man.

Between Liam’s family, Jay’s really great family and their group of friends, there is a real feel good vibe about this whole book. These are very down to earth characters living a pretty normal life, making them totally relatable. Can’t wait to get to the next book!

Candy Man by Amy Lane ~ Audio Review

Amy Lane - Candy Man Audio Cover 34874hgnTitle: Candy Man

Series: Candy Man 01

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator: Philip Alces

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 4 hrs, 6 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (4th September 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Adam Macias has been thrown a few curve balls in his life, but losing his VA grant because his car broke down and missing a class was the one that struck him out. One relative away from homelessness, he has taking the bus to Sacramento, where his cousin has offered a house-sitting job and a new start. He has one goal, and that’s to get his life back on track. Friends, pets, lovers need not apply.

Finn Stewart takes one look at Adam as he’s applying to Candy Heaven and decides he’s much too fascinating to leave alone. Finn is bright and shiny – and has never been hurt. Adam is wary of his attention from the very beginning – Finn is dangerous to every sort of peace Adam is forging, and Adam may just be too damaged to let him in at all.

But Finn is tenacious, and Adam’s new boss, Darrin, doesn’t take bullshit for an answer. Adam is going to have to ask himself which is harder – letting Finn in or living without him? With the holi-days approaching, it seems like an easy question, but Adam knows from experience that life is seldom simple. And the world seldom cooperates with hope, faith, or the plans of cats and men.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Candy Man is the first book in Amy Lane’s series of the same name. I’ve have come to enjoy some of Lane’s books. However, I had not got into this series as the ebook predates when I first discovered the author. I have a dim memory of listening to one of the books in the series, but since I had read it out of order I never gave it a chance. Seems unfortunate, but it means that I’ve made an awesome discovery for the audio book format.

The narration was performed by Philip Alces, who narrates the full series. Alces has a soft and gentle voice that matches the sweetness of the plot and conveys the variety of emotions that tumble through the MCs. It was a wonderful performance and completely on point.

Candy Man has a really cute premise. It’s about this almost hippy-like guy, Darren, who runs a boutique candy store in Old Sacramento and just so happens to have psychic visions about the people that he needs to help, i.e. people that are down on their luck and may not be looking for love but are gonna get it anyway. Really cool.

The MC that needs help that introduces us to this world is Adam Macais. He had a really shitty upbringing. His family cursed his own existence, always more than happy to tell him that he was a bastard (honestly, can’t figure out that guy’s mum). When he left to go to the army, the dog that he had loved was euthanised by his vindictive mother. When he came out as gay he was outright rejected. In the army he had thought that he had found the love of his life, but that went awry. When he left the army he went back to school, but being sick meant that he lost his VA Grant. All that he had left was a handful of belongings and a crappy car that would take him to Sacramento. That’s where his cousin, Rico, lives and it feels like that Rico is the only light in his life.

Adam is staying at Rico’s place, looking after Rico’s dog, Clopper, and the decrepit cat, Gonzo, while Rico moves to New York for six months for an internship. Adam is determined to get his life back on track. He’s in the right place at the right time because barely after a day in Sacramento he walks into the store Candy Heaven, where the strange guy that runs the place, gives him an apron and tells Adam he is where he is meant to be.

Adam meets Finn when Finn delivers food from his family’s diner. Finn is super close to his family, they are big and boisterous and for Finn there is nothing bad in the world. He is outgoing and positive. He works for the family business while going to school to become an engineer. The moment he meets Adam, Finn knows that he can’t let the guy go. Good thing that Finn is a scrappy sort of guy because Adam is going to take a lot of getting to know and convincing that he is deserving of love, laughter and happiness.

Adam and Finn have great chemistry together. They are ying and yang but as they get to know each other it is clear that they both have something that the other needs. They are kind of like Beauty and the Beast in a way. Adam is a gritty character from a hard life, but that is only what we get on the surface as Adam has a lot of things to learn in the course of this book.

The world of the Candy Man has a strange type of mystical energy that makes it so easy to get love and hope. Candy Man was a really charming book and I can’t wait for the next one. This is good for people that love a rosy, sweet romance.

Model Investigator by Lissa Kasey ~ Audio Review

Lissa Kasey - Model Investigator Audio Cover 73yczTitle: Model Investigator

Series: Haven Investigations 03

Author: Lissa Kasey

Narrator: Brian Hutchinson

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

Length: 9 hrs, 7 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (14th February 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: With his lover, Kade, missing, androgynous former-model-turned-private-investigator Ollie Pe-troskovic is ready to kick some ass to bring him home.

Ollie and his ex, rock star Jacob Elias, need to find Kade and free him from the clutches of his manipulative family. But with Ollie suffering from chronic migraines and Jacob unable to bear loud noises, they are hardly the dynamic duo. It takes a lot of sweet talking on the part of Jacob – and patience Ollie doesn’t have – to find Kade. Only Kade’s not whole anymore. The fight for Kade’s heart and mind is far from over.

It’s Ollie’s turn to guide Kade through nightmares, self-doubt, and PTSD. Kade’s memories are scattered, fragmented with possible horrors, and he’s not quite sure what is real. Ollie will have to draw on his investigative skills to clear Kade of the terrible accusations his family has made and help Kade unlock the truth. But in doing so, he ignores his own health, which could have catastrophic consequences for everyone, especially when digging up the past could be lethal for them all.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Model Investigator is the third book in Lissa Kasey’s Haven Investigations series. The only way to read this series is in order, or else nothing will make sense. Book 2 had finished on a cliff hanger, which is eventually resolved in this book. I have been absolutely loving this series. These audios is the only experience I have with the author and unfortunately have not looked into Kasey’s other work further, not to say that I won’t some day but I just haven’t had the chance.

The audio narration for this book was provided by Brian Hutchinson, who was narrator for book 2, and book 1 had a different narrator altogether. Overall, this was a wonderful performance. There is a lot going on in this series and I was impressed with Hutchinson’s ability to give the characters, for the most part, distinct voices.

As I said before, this a complicated series with a complicated storyline. We pick up with Kade going missing – kidnapped and held against his will by his own family. It is up to Ollie, a model turned private investigator to help his lover, business partner and fellow PI. Helping Ollie is Jacob, a Rockstar and Ollie’s ex who is now his best friend and now partner in crime when it comes to Haven Investigations and helping the couple solve the ongoing mystery of Ollie’s brother’s death.

There is a lot of angst in this book, and as tiring as it might become, it works well to keep the chemistry and sexual going between Ollie and Kade. As soon as he has Kade back, Ollie lets life, mysteries and insecurities take over, which can make the relationship frustrating as things go hot and cold between then the lovers. But finally the two guys talk, because I have to say miscommunication is one of my biggest hates in a book. Yet, I have to admit that Kasey uses it really well to advance the story as well as add depth to both Ollie and Kade.

There is A LOT going on in this story. However, for the most part the focus in on Kade, his past and his family. Kade’s family are nothing but a drama worthy of soap opera status, which is just the bread between the paternity tests, accusations of rape and various health issues.

I am happy to say that this book ended without the cliff hanger we got in book 2, which I am immensely relieved about. However, that is not say that there wasn’t a tiny little cliff hanger there. There is still the mystery of how Ollie’s brother died and now we also need to find out the importance of new connections and information that has come to light during the course of Model Investigator. Personally, I’d love to hear more from Jacob. I am very much looking forward to Model Exposure, the fourth book in the series, which was published about 1.5 years ago, so hopefully the audio will be out soon.

Ravensong by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

T.J. Klune - Ravensong Audio Cover 236ygt3Title: Ravensong

Series: Green Creek 02

Author: T.J. Klune

Narrator: Kirt Graves

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters

Length: 20 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (6th December 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing nev-er again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack…and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Ravensong is the second book in TJ Klune’s Green Creek series, which is based upon the lives and current trials of the Bennett Wolf Pack of Green Creek, Oregon. If you’ve not read or heard the audio of the first book, Wolfsong, then it is vital to have gone through that intense journey before starting Ravensong. The events of this book pick up directly from book one, so I guarantee it will be confusing.

However, I highly recommend this series, especially to people new to TJ Klune. This is good for people that like a paranormal romance with shape shifters. It’s by no means a light read, it is intense and there is a good dose of angst. By the time you get to the end, your heart won’t be pieced back together after being torn apart, but there is so much more going on and we just need to wait for the next books as this series hits it’s halfway point.

Kirt Graves does a flawless performance narrating this book. He narrated the audio for Wolfsong as well. The way that man times pauses is an absolute art form. He really nailed the rollercoaster of emotions throughout the book.

While the story of the Green Creek Pack continues with their two alphas, Jo and Ox, we enter the very complicated lives of Gordo Livingstone and Mark Bennett.

Gordo is a man with a lot of baggage, a lot of fear and so much love and potential for love, it’s heart breaking. He also happens to be a witch. He father was once the witch for the Bennett Pack. As a child he saw his father transform into a dark witch, though, which tore apart the Bennett Pack and saw him become the pack witch at a very young age. Also at that young age he discovered that he was mate to one of those wolves – Mark Bennett, who is only a couple years older than Bennett although they were on the cusp of adulthood when this revelation occurred. But the Bennetts had to leave and Gordo felt that everyone in his life was abandoned. He remained in Green Creek where he became a mechanic, took over the shop and eventually led to when he appointed himself as the protector of Ox. Over the years the bitterness has consumed him, especially when he perceived danger when the Bennetts returned and it became apparent that his history could repeat with Ox.

Mark Bennett is a man with baggage when it concerns his mate. He has so much regret although he has never stopped loving Gordo. However, the danger that surrounds the pack in the form of Gordo’s evil father is working as a catalyst to bring the two men together. Mark instincts drive him to protect Gordo, despite Gordo’s feeling that Mark abandoned him.

The story goes between the past and “present”, as we get to know Mark and Gordo more. We get the events of Wolfsong from Gordo’s view (the chunk of time where Jo was absent from Ox’s life). With the evil plan of Gordo’s father, Richard Livingstone unfolding, I’m looking forward to find out how the Green Creek Pack fare.

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Knight of Ocean Avenue Audio Cover 382yjkTitle: Knight of Ocean Avenue

Series: Love in Laguna 01

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: KC Kelly

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 9 hrs, 33 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th July 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: How can you be 25 and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help sup-port his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz – alias Chase Phillips – a ris-ing-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted – stalwart, honest, brave – but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in com-mon find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Knight of Ocean Avenue is the first book in Tara Lain’s series, Love in Laguna. I’m very familiar with the author, although I have to admit I think I may have read one of the books in the series in epub format but I don’t remember at all. Regardless, I was looking forward to starting this series on audio, purely because of the blurb and my previous experience with the author.

Billy Ballew is a huge man, he’s a construction worker, he is everything that is blue collar. However, at the age of twenty five, Billy has only just allowed himself to want someone sexually. Before now sex and attraction has been a non-event for the most part. He was labelled as stupid most of his life and so he simply dropped out of school and began to work hard to make money. He has put all his energy to help his sisters through college. he has become excellent in his work, so much so he’s been urged to get his contractor’s license but is terrified of tests (linking back to his school experience). Billy really does know he isn’t straight, although he has never accepted it and mostly because he fears how his mother would react to his sexuality. For the most part, Billy is happy with his lot in life. Then he meets Shaz.

Shaz, real name Chase Phillips, is an up and coming designer who has become sought after by the rich and famous. He has no questions of who he is what he needs to do. Chase is cool and confident. As soon as he meets Billy there is a brilliant spark, these guys have a great connection and it was lovely to be able to see this spark of attraction develop between the two. At first Chase thinks that Billy is straight, and then after that both Chase and Billy must go on a journey of discovery regarding each other before they can contemplate a HEA.

Chase is interested in Billy as a man, but also in Billy as a person and it was so easy to fall in love with Billy through Chase’s eyes. In saying that, the same is true for Billy and seeing Chase through his eyes.

The narration of this book was performed by KC Kelly. On the whole, I really enjoyed the narration and the thought that Kelly did a wonderful job conveying the emotion from the words. However, the one criticism I have for this was the voice for one of the secondary characters, Ru, whose story is told later in the series. There was something about the tone that I did not like and I hope that it hasn’t been carried over to Ru’s story, because I’m just not sure if I could hear that voice for a major character.

This is a great start to a series. I’m looking forward to getting to the audio of the rest of the series. The main theme being that one of the MCs must come out of the closet so that he can embrace happiness and love. I recommend this to those that like a down to earth romance in an almost tropical locale.

Stranger in a Foreign Land by Michael Murphy ~ Audio Review

Michael Murphy - Stranger In A Foreign Land Audio Cover 734uykTitle: Stranger in a Foreign Land

Series: Dreamspun Desire 61

Author: Michael Murphy

Narrator: Colin Darcy

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 23 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (8th November 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Losing his old life and finding a new love.

After an accident stole his memory, the only home American businessman Patrick knows is Bangkok. He recovers under the tender ministrations of Jack, an Australian expat who works nights at a pineapple cannery. Together they search for clues to Patrick’s identity, but without success. Soon that forgotten past seems less and less important as Jack and Patrick – now known as Buddy – build a new life together.

But the past comes crashing in when Patrick’s brother travels to Thailand looking for him…and demands Patrick return to Los Angeles, away from Jack and the only world familiar to him. The attention also causes trouble for Jack, and to make their way back to each other, Patrick will need to find not only himself, but Jack as well, before everything is lost….

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Stranger in a Foreign Land is a standalone novel by Michael Murphy with audio narration for this book performed by Colin Darcy. Michael Murphy is a new author to me and I have to say, even with soap opera type clichés, Stranger in a Foreign is, generally, an enjoyable read. I won’t go too much into the storyline because it will be so very easy to spoil. I think that the only thing that took away from my enjoyment was that there was a lot of stereotypes in this.

The story is about Patrick, who promptly is involved in a car accident shortly after arriving in Bangkok, Thailand. This results Patrick into basically forgetting who he is and the world around him. Enter knight in shining armour, the Aussie bum Jack. Jack is your stereotypical Aussie, who of course has now overstayed his visa. Meanwhile, Patrick’s amnesia is stereotypical in that you will have to suspend your disbelief when he forgets more than just his name and family and life – he doesn’t display any understanding of shopping centers and airplanes. Amnesia doesn’t work like that, so as I said you need to suspend your disbelief.

Jack looks after Patrick and as the weeks roll on they fall in love, all the while knowing that Patrick, now called Buddy, could get his memories back. Their private world is destroyed when Patrick’s brother finds him and convinces him to return to his wealthy family in LA.

Patrick tries to find himself and, in the end, knows that he must make a stand for himself to get his happy ending. All this culminates in a sugary sweet ending. The other thing that has been getting to me the entire audio was that I was think of the song Foreign Land by Australian band Eskimo from the 00s. Don’t judge, it’s in all the title.

The narration by Colin Darcy was, overall, pretty good. I’ve been really annoyed with myself trying to figure out who I have been mixing up with the narrator Seb Yarrick for the past couple weeks, and I now think that it’s Colin Darcy. He has a good knack for voices and giving characters their own distinctive voices, with a little bit of work on accents too. Being Australian I tend to be highly critical of narrators that do Aussie accents, because generally there is one accent that is stereotypical for Australians in any media that’s the Queensland – New South Welshman extremely pronounced and distinct accent. If it’s a truly bad accent, then the character sounds less Aussie and more like a New Zealander or South African. But being that Jack is from Queensland, the accent works perfectly.

Handle With Care by Cari Z ~ Audio Review

Cari Z. - Handle with Care Audio Cover 2348knmTitle: Handle With Care

Series: Dreamspun Desires

Author: Cari Z

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 23 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (21st February 2019)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years – boss’ orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas – and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Handle With Care is a standalone novel from author Cari Z. The only previous experience I have had with Cari Z was actually reading this book. I was attracted to the book in the first place because it was a friends to lovers story, that also had a side helping of childhood demons. If that’s your thing, then I will say now that I recommend it to you. The only thing was that while I remember liking it, I didn’t love it.

And the narrator responsible for this is John Solo. Solo is one of my top narrators and is one I’ve been looking forward to listening to since when I first started listening to audios. He and Dorian Bane are my absolute favourite MM narrators. Solo’s performance was excellent and delivered the goods for everything that I had missed when I first read the book. Most importantly I felt the chemistry and the sexual tension between the two MCs was much more obvious in the audio.

The story is about Aaron McCoy. He is a social worker because he wants to help the kids who, like Aaron, were the impossible cases taken away from their primary caregiver(s) because they are in danger. Aaron has no love for his drug-taking mother and misses the little brother, Zach, who he had felt that he had been forced to leave behind after Zach was adopted. Aaron had a lot of issues and the parents who adopted Zach could not take Aaron, and while h has some issues concerning that he understands why. However, Aaron is close to burning out and so he has been forced to take a 2-week vacation from work.

The only other person who Aaron truly spends time with is his best friend Tyler. When Aaron left his home town and his little brother it was Tyler and his family who came to the rescue. Aaron still keeps them all at arm’s length, but these are people that consider Aaron family.

Tyler is a happy go lucky sort of bloke. He is a computer geek who can do most of his work on the road or at home. Knowing what Aaron is like he has the perfect solution for the 2-week holiday – Aaron’s baby brother is getting married and Aaron had been invited. Tyler not only forces Aaron to face up to his past and his brother, but also joins him on the road trip. They become closer as Zach and his family assume that the guys are a couple and as Aaron begins to tackle demons he had been too scared to face.

After such a fantastic audio, I have to admit that I only have one issue which I had initially had with the book that wasn’t resolved with the audio. Not that narration solves everything but the emotion the narrator gives often helps to smooth over the edges. My issue being that I thought that Aaron’s demons from being in the foster system still felt a little glossed over.

This story is one of the best examples where I can enjoy reading the story and then I listen to the audio and I am absolutely blown away by how wonderful the story is. The right narrator gives the characters and story so much depth.

Under a Blue Moon by Bru Baker ~ Audio Review

Bru Baker - Under A Blue Moon Audio Cover 016d2pTitle: Under a Blue Moon

Series: Camp H.O.W.L 02 / Dreamspun Beyond 22

Author: Bru Baker

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters

Length: 6 hrs, 40 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (26th October 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp – except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans.

Fate intervenes when one of Drew’s private-practice patients threatens his life. Will the close call help Nick see a connection like theirs isn’t something of which to let go?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Under a Blue Moon is the second book in Bru Baker’s Camp H.O.W.L series for Dreamspun Beyond. To be perfectly honest, I remember that I’ve read the first three books in the series when they came out, but when it came to the audio all I could remember was the basic premise of the series and that I enjoyed the books. Regardless, I’m always keen to rediscover books in audio form as I feel I get details that I missed in reading and often a wonderful narrator makes the audio better than reading the book. This is a series that I recommend listening to (or reading) in order, because while they are mostly standalone books, there are a number of references to previous instalments that may be tricky for the more detail orientated people.

The book was narrated by the always wonderful Dorian Bane. I love the tone he brings to the books he performs and really has a way of getting the characters just right. His deep, husky voice is one that I find absolutely perfect for paranormal/shape shifter romances. Under a Blue Moon was no exception.

The series surrounds the lives of the doctors/counselors who work at Camp H.O.W.L as they do the work they love, protecting the young wolflings who are going through their first and very traumatic shift in a summer camp type of setting and somehow finding love while undoubtedly fighting the mating bonds that are forming almost every step of the way.

Under a Blue Moon starts with Nick, a counsellor who wants to get out of private practice and kids going through the Turn. Then there is Drew. He is a medical doctor – a human raised by his human mother and wolf stepfather, surrounded by his three wolf step brothers. The guys meet each other on the way to camp and things get hot and heavy – and at this point they don’t even realize that they are travelling to the same place, let alone going to be work colleagues. I don’t want to go into things too much, I don’t want to completely spoil the plot, but Nick finds it hard to reconcile that he has a mate bond with a human, and that being human doesn’t mean that Drew can’t survive life with wolves.

As I said earlier, a common theme in both book 1 and 2 is that at least one of the men in the romantic pair tries his best to ignore the mate bond and push away his prospective mate. I find that trope a little frustrating at times, but in my opinion, it worked well for this story. Meanwhile, I loved Drew and his family. Drew is a wonderfully relatable character – fearless and smart as a whip.
If you loved the first book or shape shifter romances, you’ll no doubt love this.

The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding ~ Audio Review

Kim Fielding - The Spy's Love Song Audio Cover 76bvcTitle: The Spy’s Love Song

Series: Stars from Peril 01, Dreamspun Desires 67

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator: Drew Bacca

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 32 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (28th February 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world – even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous ene-my. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone…with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws – and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders.

Romance will have to wait…assuming they make it out alive.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Spy’s Love Song is the first book in Kim Fielding’s series Stars from Peril. I really enjoy Fielding’s writing style and so was pretty confident that I would at least enjoy this story. The writing style is easy for me to connect to and I find a majority of Fielding’s characters both relatable and entertaining.

It was actually good timing for me to listen to this audio, because I also had the ebook for book 2 in the series and I listened in case I needed a refresher. FYI: these do work as standalone book with only passing reference with the character who happens to be the famous person from the small town of Peril. In fact, the characters aren’t even physically in the town, it just happens that one MC is a small town boy who has made it famous.

The audio narration for this story was by Drew Bacca, who is a completely new narrator for me. I found his voice matched both characters and the theme of the story well. He was able to convey the emotions – the danger and the passion – pretty damn well. I look forward to hearing more performances him in the future.

For me this book is a mix between The Cold War (in the style of The Man from UNCLE) and the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie The Interview. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you could also think gay James Bond with a spoiled Rockstar and hot sexual tension. If a pseudo-James Bond minus the Bond girls is your thing in a romance this book will probably go for this one.

Jaxon Powers transformed his life and moved to the big city to try to make his big break after his parents took his coming out badly. In fact, he hasn’t spoken to them in years. But now he has made it big and a big name. He’s doing world tours, recording albums, and basically living the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll lifestyle. He is a spoiled, bored and jaded celebrity. Then one days he gets what has to be the strangest request. Apparently, the dictator of some eastern European country is a massive fan of his and requests that Jaxon fly over to perform a couple shows. The US State Department see this as the perfect opportunity to see into the country Vasnytia and get some intelligence. Vasnytia is basically like North Korea/USSR.

This is where Secret Agent Reid Stanfil comes in. He is all that is awesome and the embodiment of a secret agent man: he’s ex-military, knows the local language, sexy as well and good to have when you’re in a spot of trouble. He accompanies Jaxon to Vasnytia and goes to all lengths to ensure the man’s safety, as well as conduct any secret agent type business. They have an instant connection, but Reid is well aware of the dangers of giving into his base desires. However, things go awry, to put it nicely, and when the guys are running for their lives the last thing they have time for is to give into their feelings.

I really liked the two characters together and I love that they didn’t have sex in stupid places at ridiculous times although they had a good chemistry. I found that Drew Bacca’s performances lifted this chemistry between the characters and made the whole story a lot more relatable.

The Nerd and the Prince by B.G. Thomas ~ Audio Review

B.G. Thomas - The Nerd and the Prince Audio Cover 90823glaTitle: The Nerd and the Prince

Series: Small Town Dreams 01 / Dreamspun Desires 66

Author: B.G. Thomas

Narrator: Seb Yarrick

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 6 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (17th September 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Prince Charming is the man next door.

Small-town business owner Jason Brewster has big dreams: world travel, adventure, and, most of all, a passionate romance worthy of a fairy tale. But he doesn’t believe fantasies can come true…. Until Adam moves in next door. He’s handsome, cultured, European, and, best of all, in-terested in Jason. It’s like something out of the stories Jason loves.

But Adam – whose real name is Amadeo Montefalcone – has a secret. He’s royalty, prince of the small country of Monterosia. Only he doesn’t want to rule, and especially doesn’t want the love-less marriage waiting for him at home. So he ran away in search of true love. With a man. And with Jason, he finds it. But Adam can’t run forever. The truth will come out. If Jason can forgive Adam’s deception, they might find their happily ever after.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Nerd and The Prince by BG Thomas a proper fairy tale, royal romance type story that is probably more than a few people’s guilty pleasure. BG Thomas is a relatively new author to me, so I’ve been keen to read or listen to more. The story itself is a lot of fun and was enhanced by the narration by Seb Yarrick.

I checked my Audible library and was shocked to realise that this was only the second book I’ve heard Seb Yarrick perform. I wrote in a previous review that I’ve heard him before, but I think I must be mixing him up with another narrator who does good European and English accent. Oops. My bad. Sorry. Nonetheless, this does not take away from the fact that I feel that Seb Yarrick is a wonderful narrator, his performance injects the right emotion into the story and characters, and really sets the tone well for the whole book. I’m looking forward to more performances by Yarrick in the future.

The story, overall, is a lot of fun and I personally feel that it is a very refreshing change from the usual modern fairy tale royal romances. Unlike some other stories, he did the drama and secret keeping thing without making it explode to provide more, and probably, unnecessary drama. The Prince knew he was falling in love and that he had to tell his nerd the truth and I liked how this all went down.

The story is simple enough. Prince Amadeo Montefalcone of Monterosia, a relatively unknown European principality, decides to run away so he can live a normal life, at least for a little, as an out gay man instead on being forced into marriage with a woman. The principality itself is fictional, but the town that Amadeo tell people he is from, Trieste, is near the Italian/Slovenian border. He runs away to small town America and becomes Adam, a cultured Italian man looking to experience a bit of the US. Then Adam meets his neighbor, the owner of a small book store and café/diner, who dreams of one day travelling the world and falling head over heals for his prince charming. The two guys have chemistry, there is no doubt of that, but there is, naturally, the obstacle of the whole gay prince thing and said prince not telling anyone his real identity as he falls in love.

The Nerd and the Prince is a totally sweet and fluffy story. It is a true romantic story with a lot of heart and feeling. I can’t wait to see what else BG Thomas has in store for us in this series.

The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster ~ Audio Review

Brian Lancaster - The Missing Ingredient Audio Cover 09239g3bnTitle: The Missing Ingredient

Series: Dreamspun Desires 63

Author: Brian Lancaster

Narrator: Seb Yarrick

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 19 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (8th November 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: It can take losing everything to realize what you had all along.

Up-and-coming London chef Marcus Vine is poised on the edge of success, but the only men courting him are investors. That leaves Marcus with some free time – which is fortunate, be-cause his godchildren need him.

A year ago, a horrible accident killed Marcus’s best friend, Raine, leaving her children without a mother and her husband, Tom, without a partner. Consumed by grief, Tom has been going it alone, refusing help, but when Marcus sees him out with the children, it’s obvious that Tom and his two daughters need someone. His persistent caring finally wears Tom down, allowing him to accept the comfort Marcus offers.

Soon Marcus is up to his elbows in homework, home-cooked meals, and after-school activities. Over time he helps them rebuild their world, until soon their lives are approaching normal. Then the unexpected happens: Tom confesses he has romantic feelings for Marcus, and nothing can ever be the same.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Missing Ingredient is a standalone book by Brian Lancaster for the Dreamspun Desires house line. Brian Lancaster is a new author to me, I read this book when the ebook initially came out and absolutely loved it. I remember loving the friends to lovers storyline, the emotion and depth we get from both MCs and the wonderful chemistry that exists between the two men.

Seb Yarrick was the narrator of this audio and one that I’ve heard a number of times before, usually performing one accent or another. I most commonly have heard him do English accents, but he does also perform other non-descript European accents and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard his native accent in another Dreamspun novel, which is possibly American. I’m not sure and a quick Google search did not help. His performance was absolutely wonderful. He nailed the emotions of both Marcus – the ambitious chef that needs to fight for love and friendship in this story, and Tom – who is a widower who hasn’t been able to move on after the loss of his wife.

The only cloud in chef Marcus Vine’s life is that he lost his best friend in a car accident a year ago. At the moment his professional career has taken off in a way that means that he is now being recognized on the street and his restaurant in London is so close to gaining a Michelin Star. However, his personal life is not so good. He’s never found his perfect man, over the years he has compared many men to his best friend’s husband. After the death of best friend Lorraine, he was told by her husband Tom that he and his daughters needed space. Marcus never got a call back and didn’t want to intrude, so it has also been almost a year since he last saw his god children.

Tom has been struggling with life since his wife killed in a car accident, he has doubts in every corner of his life. He is can hardly keep his head above water when it comes to looking after his daughters, one of them has severe asthma, as well as trying to be a productive partner in his business. When Marcus accidently comes into his life again Tom realizes that he can ask for help and learns that it’s ok if there is more between him and Marcus. Not that Tom can be surprised about that, he has known for years that he was bisexual, so a relationship with another man is not a hurdle in this book (thank God!). In fact, his biggest problem is that discovering it’s ok to ask for help is not a simple lesson to learn and the men have a very bumpy road to their HEA.

On the whole, this was a wonderful story that was performed to perfection. Complete love and adoration for this book, the author and the narrator.

Bad to the Bone by Nicki Bennet ~ Audio Review

Nicki Bennett - Bad to the Bone Audio Cover 76svmTitle: Bad to the Bone

Series: Dreamspun Desires 58

Author: Nicki Bennet

Narrator: Colin Darcy

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 54 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (24th August 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again. Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom. But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Bad to the Bone is a standalone book by Nicki Bennet for Dreamspun Desires. The author is relatively new to me, but I have to admit that I have read the ebook before. I am definitely open to reading more books by Nicki Bennet in the future as well – the story seemed a bit rough but it has a whole heap of heart.

While I enjoyed the ebook well enough when I read it, I felt that there was a significant chance that I would connect to the audio more than I had to the text. It’s not anything that I’ve attached to any narrator in particular, but I find that a good performance by any narrator lifts a story that I might have enjoyed but did not love. The narrator of this particular audio, Colin Darcy, is one which I’ve enjoyed performances in the past, I couldn’t name one without any certainty unless I went to my audible library first.

As for the story itself:
Alex is a washed-up jock. He’s approximately 27/28 and is about to attend his 10 year high school reunion. Back in college an injury ended his chances to be a pro footballer. He’s since moved back to his hometown, married a woman and divorced her, and now he runs his family’s store and is involved with the local library.

In high school his best friend was Ricky-Lee, who was judged by some of the more horrible people of the town for his sexuality and his ethnicity (he’s half Comanche Indian). Ricky-Lee left after he and Alex were caught in a compromising position and Alex was unable to defend him. When Ricky-Lee comes back to town he’s grown up and although a little mysterious, there is nothing bad about this all-around good guy. Alex has to work through his own personal baggage before he and Ricky-Lee can begin to pick up the pieces of their friendship and make something more.

The story itself is fun and there is true chemistry between the two characters. However, I’m not totally happy with the development of the characters, or lack thereof, throughout the story. This is a book for those that want to read an easy romance of rekindling a lost love, and all of it taking place at a school reunion.

Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - Redeeming the Stepbrother Audio Cover 238hgmTitle: Redeeming the Stepbrother

Series: Tales from St Giles 02

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Jack Wesley

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 57 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (10th April 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Family can be a blessing and a curse, but for artist Florian, it’s a nightmare he longs to escape.

As chief designer for Bartholomew Porcelain Studio, Florian specializes in painting birds. He also watches them in the wild to distract himself from his short-tempered mother, at least tempo-rarily. Florian’s heart is too soft to leave his stepsister, Ella, to suffer alone. Still, he can’t help dreaming about one day finding happiness and love.

When Count Dieter von Hollenbach arrives in town to visit a friend and present an award, he isn’t looking for romance. Then again, he doesn’t expect someone as perfect as Florian to come into his life. To make sure Florian is all he seems and that their connection is genuine, Dieter keeps his title to himself.

But he isn’t the only one with a secret.

At a masquerade ball to celebrate the award, some of the masks fall away, but those that remain in place could destroy the love beginning to grow between them.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Redeeming the Stepbrother is the second book in Andrew Grey’s Tales from St Giles series. Andrew Grey is up there is as one of favourite authors, I always connect with his stories and his characters, and I love the depth and complexity he gives to his MCs. This is, for the most part, based partially of the classic tale of Cinderella. I love books that are either inspired by or are simply a modern MM retelling of the classic fairy tales. Here, Grey only takes elements of the old tale and crafts the lives of people in an idyllic, sleepy town which is dependent on the Bartholomew family porcelain business to hire a great deal of the locals.

The story is the romance between Florian Cinderson and Count Dieter von Hollenbach. Dieter keeps his title a secret for much of the story, and with the last name Cinderson and a stepsister called Ella, it’s clear that Florian is the character to have elements of Cinderella injected into his story.

Florian tends to share the Cinderella story with Ella. Ella is the one that is treated as a slave by her stepmother. Florian misses his deceased stepfather a lot, the man was an important role model for him, but the only reason he sticks around is because his mother and brother can be fairly horrible people. He loves his sister to bits and will do anything to protect her. It’s a complicated story to unpack, but that is why you need to read the book and I won’t make any potentially spoilery comments.

Dieter on the other hand Mr tall, dark, handsome and mysterious. He feels an instant attraction to Florian, the main reason why he was in town anyway. It was because of Florian’s artwork that the Bartholomew porcelain works were honored with a very important prize. Dieter has a complicated family as well, although his are not intrusive like Florian’s. Quite simply, in finding love Dieter begins to find peace with his past as he realizes the depths of what he feels and the importance of Florian in his life. The main hurdle these guys have to deal with in the end is the fact that they live and work in two different countries on two different continents.

The narrator of the audio is Jack Wesley, a new narrator for me, as I have only heard his performance of both Tales from St Giles stories. He does a good job and lifts the story and characters so much so that I found that I enjoyed the audio of this book more than I did reading the book. I particularly liked his performance of Florian. Although he also did a pretty good job with Dieter, I felt the accent he used was a little shaky but after a bit I got used to it and let it slide.

I really adore both books in this series so far, I love the fairy-tale element. I’ve loved reading these books and listening to the audios. I sincerely hope that there are more Tales from St Giles to come in the future.

Two of A Kind by B.A. Tortuga Audio Review

B.A. Tortuga - Two of A Kind Audio Cover 93874ghbTitle: Two of A Kind

Series: Dreamspun Desires 65

Author: B.A. Tortuga

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 6 hrs

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (21st February 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Working on a full house.

Once upon a time, Trey Williamson and Ap McIntosh had quite the whirlwind romance – but that was before family tragedy left them the guardians of five kids. Their lives have changed quite a bit over the last six years, but Ap is still on the rodeo circuit, doing what he does best in an at-tempt to feed all those extra mouths.

That leaves Trey back on the ranch, isolated and overworked as the kids’ sole caregiver. Some-thing has to give, and when Ap comes home, they’re reminded how hot they burned once upon a time. But is it a love that can withstand wrangling over time, money, and the future? They have to decide what kind of family they want to be…and whether what they share can stand the test of time.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Two of A Kind is a wonderfully, sexy cowboy romance with a cast of crazy kids by BA Tortuga, for Dreamspun Desires. I love BA Tortuga’s stories, especially the cowboy ones. Because seriously, a story about a hot but flawed cowboy is just wonderful. Tortuga, for the most part, does justice to a story with at least one cute kid in addition to the cowboys. I love it!

I read the book of this when it came out and absolutely adored it from start to finish. So I was looking forward to killing some time during my commute listening to it all over again. On top of that, I was looking forward to the narration of John Solo, who did not disappoint. It feels like its been ages since I’ve heard Solo’s work. His voice lent added so much depth to the story, I loved it.

Trey Williamson and Ap MacIntosh met years ago when Trey’s sister and Ap’s brother got married and then proceeded to have five kids. They are both quite young – in their late twenties – and so six years ago when tragedy struck and Trey and Ap became the guardians to their nephews and nieces they were just at the start of their own adult lives. Trey had been saving to go to college and Ap had been on the road competing rodeos since he was approximately sixteen. While their siblings had been alive the two men had shared a couple of special moments but could never explore a serious relationship once they became the guardians to the kids. Trey stayed behind on the small ranch looking after the kids day in and day out, while Ap stayed on the rodeo circuit making money to raise the kids. In fact, Ap leaves very little money for himself, leaving it all for the kids.

However, after six years Trey is burning out. Six kids between the ages of six and sixteen takes a lot of energy and he has basically been a single parent the entire time. So Ap has to come back and be more than the uncle who rings up while on the circuit and go back to visit for special occasions. Ap learns some important home truths as he finds out just what Trey sacrificed to raise the kids and work his exhausting schedule. And so years after they had started to explore an intimate relationship, they are finally together under the same roof and no longer just passing ships in the night.

There was a lot of emotion and while I felt a bit of resentment at Ap for never trying to be more than the bread winner and the cool uncle who drops in every now and again, I really did like Ap and liked how his character matured.

Everyone who loves a good cowboy romance will be entertained by this one!

The Best Worst Honeymoon by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever Audio Cover 2398hTitle: The Best Worst Honeymoon

Series: Dreamspun Desires 60

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 49 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (15th January 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: How can heartbreak turn into happily ever after?

Tommy Gordon is all set for happily ever after – until heartbreak strikes when his husband-to-be leaves him at the altar. In a bid for distraction, his best friend, Grayson Phillips, suggests he takes advantage of the luxury honeymoon anyway! But the last thing Tommy wants is to go alone, so he invites Grayson and his son, Petey, along.

Beautiful Bonaire lends itself to romance, and along with close quarters, relaxing on the water, and a matchmaking kid, Tommy and Grayson soon find themselves closer than ever…and con-sidering more, much to Grayson’s delight. But before they can plan the best best honeymoon ever, dark clouds descend in the form of Tommy’s ex and a sting from paradise that could ruin everything.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon is written by Andrew Grey for Dreamspun Desires.

I make it no secret that Andrew Grey is one of my all-time favorite authors and he is an automatic read for me. However, while The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever is not up there with my favorite books, it is a fun book. The story is quite simple really. The book itself is also well paced with solid character development.

Although the narration, which was completely wonderful, by John Solo really lifted the entire story and made it more enjoyable. It almost feels as though his voice added credibility to the story, he really nailed the voice of the MC’s, Tommy and Grayson, and the little boy, Petey.

The book opens with Tommy Gordon nervous for his wedding, but is bolstered by the presence of his best man and best friend, Grayson Philips, and Grayson’s incorrigible son, Petey. Then immediately Tommy’s world is crashing down around him when he is jilted by his fiancé. When Tommy plans to cancel his tropical honeymoon, Grayson convinces Tommy to go and have fun. Which leads to Grayson and Petey tagging along to the tropical island.

This is a fun and sexy story that turns friends to lovers, which has the family friendly element with the addition of the precocious Petey, who is more than happy for his dad to get with Uncle Tommy so that he can keep Uncle Tommy for real. Seriously, cute and sneaky kid. Petey also is a highlight when Tommy gathers the courage to properly face his ex that the three of can have a chance to become a family.

For fans of Andrew Grey and the Dreamspinner Press house line, Dreamspun Desire this is one to add to your list as, at least for me, it is everything that I expect from both.

Love You So Special by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Love You So Special Audio Cover 394yl4mTitle: Love You So Special

Series: Love You So 03

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: Ry Forest

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th January 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks – like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms – and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

François Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical com-posers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When François’ terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Love You So Special is the third book in Tara Lain’s Love You So series. Each book is about a different couple and while the previous characters pop up briefly or mentioned in passing these are standalone stories, completely independent from each other. The one thing that is common between the books in this series is that one main character has either a health condition (epilepsy in book 2) or mental health issues (self esteem issues in book 1 and anxiety in book 3). I haven’t read (or heard) a lot of Tara Lain books but I have loved this series, I’ve loved how the stories have flowed, the sweetness and the love needed to help the MCs heal.

Ry Forest has done an exceptional job narrating this series too. I’ve never heard him perform before I listened to these audios. His softly spoken voice is perfect for capturing the tone and emotion of the MCs as they grow and learn about love, ultimately accepting love in their lives.

In this final instalment we meet Artie Haynes, who is a plumber. He comes from a blue-collar family, using to not having enough money and used to being told that he is nothing special. However, it is clear from the start that Artie is very special and he is as smart as a whip, his biggest problem is that his talents were never nurtured at school. Working at a theatre which is undergoing major repairs, he is drawn by the music of the performers, especially a piano player who disappeared as fast as they appeared.

Artie’s job takes him to the home of the Desmarais family, a mother with her grown son. Francois has crippling anxiety, which is probably made worse by the fact that he is one of the most sought after classical concert pianists. His mother is his manager, organising tours and appearances. Unfortunately, Francois does like the continual performances and his mother is bull-headed when it comes to her son’s career. A chance meeting with the plumber who is fixing up the guest house on his mother’s property where Francois intends to live leads both men on a journey of discovery – about themselves and each other. Things take a dangerous turn when it seems that Francois is in danger from a stalkerish fan.

This is a fast paced romance that manages to stay sweet between all the danger. There is a touch of angst as Francois faces his anxieties and gets the courage to be himself and discover love for the first time.

A Fool and His Manny by Amy Lane ~ Audio Review

Amy Lane - A Fool and His Manny Audio Cover 2938ygTitle: A Fool and His Manny

Series: The Mannies 04 / Dreamspun Desires 62

Author: Amy Lane

Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (6th December 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Seeing the truth and falling in love.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: A Fool and his Manny is the fourth book in Amy Lane’s, The Mannies. I have adored every book in this series, so much so that I’ve both read the books and listened to the audio. It is just so super sweet, there is so much love and a crazy, whacky family supporting all the MCs.

It is also the last book in the series, so it’s kind of a butter sweet ending with all the happy couples and seeing the Robbins family and their associated branches grow over about twenty years. This is the second book in the series that goes onto the next generation of the people that are somehow apart of the Robbins family.

This is the story of the oldest Robbins-Grayson, Dustin. His father knocked up his mother, in book one (the hero’s, Tino, best friend and sister) and way before his parents had a bajillion kids. Now Dustin is all grown up and attracted to Quinlan Gregory, the man we met in book 3, a trumpet player and friend of Sammy (Dustin’s cousin) who was taken in and hired by Dustin’s parents to be a manny for their herd of kids. Dustin was a teen by book 3, he isn’t that much younger than Quinlan, so I assure you, it really isn’t as weird as it sounds. This is a relatively low angst book, my favorite kind, and Dustin and Quinlan make a totally cute couple.

I really enjoyed seeing this side of Dustin. He was always a brat when we’ve seen him previously. Now he has grown up and matured into a young man. Quinlan was an ordinary college student and gifted musician when we first met him but there has always been an element of loneliness to him from the start. He is one of those characters that I felt strongly and looked forward to having his own HEA. It makes me ridiculously happy to say that. I love how Lane has developed all the characters over the four books. On a side note, I loved the conversation on the band bus involving Harry Potter and how the kids grew up from cute kids to good looking (yes, we’re talking about Neville Longbottom!).

Kenneth Obi is the narrator and does a wonderful job. Obi did not narrate the previous books in the series (John Solo was the narrator for books 1 and 2, and Peter B Brooke was the narrator of 3), I’m not sure if this was on purpose in terms of what the narrator could bring to the characters, or if it was just a matter of availability. Nonetheless, I’ve enjoyed many of Obi’s performances and this was no exception. He added a depth to the characters with his tone that meant I could feel when the high emotional times popped up.

This is a must read for anyone who has been following the series. I’ve tried to be concise with my description but as you can probably tell, there is a lot of background, hence my recommendation. For those that haven’t read the series, I recommend reading it in order because this is a proper family saga that spans approximately 22 years. If you love a sweet story with a HEA and low angst this is the book for you, especially if you’re a sucker hot guys working with kids.

Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates ~ Audio Review

Skylar M. Cates - Rocking the Cowboy Audio Cover 934kswTitle: Rocking the Cowboy

Series: Dreamspun Desires 64

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Narrator: Colin Darcy

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 38 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd January 2019)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll.

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good.

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Rocking the Cowboy is a Dreamspun Desires line book by Skylar M Cates. I’ve read the book in ebook format and while it enjoyed it well enough, I had thought that perhaps hearing the audio would add another layer of interesting to the story.

I’ve read a handful Skylar M Cates books before – some I enjoyed and one I couldn’t finish. Ultimately, while this wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, I really did enjoy this one. The romance was wonderful, the characters were relatable, the story was a lot of fun and most importantly the MCs had great chemistry.

In addition to that, the narration was good. Colin Darcy is a relatively new narrator to me. However, I feel that he did justice to this story, which is great because of its simplicity. His performance was great, despite the fact it didn’t really change my mind in calling this an excellent story, to a totally awesome story.

Rockstar Remy Sean has gone through a horrifying experience on stage where he almost got trapped by stampeding fans who broke through barriers to get onto stage. His agent, who personally is not a good man but ruthless in business, decides that Remy should go spend time at the family ranch which is ran by his son, Jed Riley. The problem is, Jed does not get along with his father at all.

Remy looks forward to this opportunity to heal from his mostly psychological scars. Years ago, when he had been sixteen, he had spent the summer at the ranch. Back when things were a lot better for the Riley family. This had been when Remy first met Jed, but he was certain that over the years he had a bad case of hero worship for Jed.

Jed makes a deal with his father for Remy to stay at the ranch in exchange for his father’s compliance. Jed will do anything to make his mother and sister happy and he has zero time for his a-hole father. What Jed didn’t expect, despite a bumpy start, was that he would have a true connection to Remy.

Fans of cowboy stories will not be disappointed, and if you like yourself a bit of a celebrity falling for an ordinary guy type of story then you’re in luck here too. Overall, a fun and enjoyable audio book.

A Full Plate by Kim Fielding ~ Audio Review

Kim Fielding - Full Plate Audio Cover 3482b2xpTitle: A Full Plate

Series: Dreamspun Desires 56

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 19 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th June 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.

Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.

But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: A Full Plate is a novel by Kim Fielding from the Dreamspun Desires line. I’ve read this book in the past and have enjoyed it, I love the ease of the audio format for my commute and so enjoy listening to books that I’ve read and liked in the past.

I’m also always curious because sometimes narration can help me enjoy the story more. This story was excellently narrated by Kenneth Obi, a narrator I’ve become more familiar with in the past 6 or so months and I’ve never had an issue with his narration. I really enjoyed the he gave to the characters and the tone used throughout the book. It worked well. I think the only reason why his narration didn’t allow me to enjoy the story so much more than when I read it is probably because I felt that the story was a tad slow in the middle leading up to when the characters get their butts into action. Not to say that this was a bad story, because obviously, I don’t think that at all.

The story is about high-power lawyer Bradford Tolliver, better known as Tully to his friends, and Sage Filling, the cousin of one of Tully’s friends. At first it seems like these guys are complete opposites. Tully is a well-educated city boy, whereas Sage is a country boy who had spent so much time and energy running his family’s diner in his home town. Sage needs to make money and he can’t do it at the old diner anymore, so he’s in the city where he is a line cook at a greasy burger joint. Sage also happens to be a cooking prodigy; his only problem is that he doesn’t have the fancy education to be much more than a line cook anywhere. Tully takes Sage in as a roommate, in exchange for his room and board, Sage does all the cooking.

These guys don’t come together easily. Their road to each other is a little bumpy to say the least, mostly because Sage doesn’t want to start a relationship when he is only going to be in Portland for less than a year. Tully will take anything he can with Sage, even if he knows it will end in heartache. Regardless, these guys are clearly made for each other and their subtle romance is something that I cheered on. The most telling part was when their lives meshed together so easily and both men displayed some misplaced jealousy.

If you’re into a sweet romance between a country and a city boy this is the story for you. I enjoyed the lack of ego and these guys just being average guys trying to make their lives work.

Love You So Hard by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Tara Lain - Love You So Hard Audio Cover 316f3vbTitle: Love You So Hard

Series: Love You So 01

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: Ry Forest

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 2 hrs, 55 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th July 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Craig Elson’s life has hit rock bottom. Even though he’s one of the best strategic planners around, a more confident guy takes credit for his work, and despite being a good-looking man, he suffers insults from the slimiest creep at the bar. Taking care of his beloved mom, who has

Alzheimer’s, uses all his funds, leaving him in a plain, depressing car…and a plain, depressing life.
Until he sees gorgeous grad student Jesse Randall and his T-shirt that reads “I Would Bottom You So Hard”. The message seeps into Craig’s soul, and he asks Jesse to teach him to top.

Jesse’s had his eye on the quiet hottie who comes into the coffee shop, and he’s more than eager to perfect his tutoring. He sets out to get Craig a new job, a new apartment, and a new life so far outside plain and depressing that it’s unrecognizable. The problem is, Craig loves his les-sons – and his teacher – too much to want to graduate. How can Craig reach the top without los-ing his sassy bottom?

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Love You So Hard is the first book in Tara Lain’s Love You So, series. It is a really nice, relatively short audiobook that is totally sweet. I’ve enjoyed Tara Lain’s writing in the past, including the second book in this series. So it goes without saying, it’s OK to listen to this out of order, you don’t get any spoilers of what happened in book 2 about book 1 other than seeing the two guys together.

Craig Elson works hard. He prides himself on his work as a strategic planner and is expecting a big promotion at work. His mother is in a care home due to the Alzheimer’s taking her memories away from Craig. The highlight of his day is going to the coffee shop and seeing the hot guy who wears the shirt that says “I’d Bottom You So Hard”. But when his boss takes credit for his, gets the promotion that Craig was looking to get, Craig just hits a wall and decides to take a vacation to figure out his next step.

This is where Jesse steps in. Jesse, he’s writing his PhD thesis and teaching at the college and happens to be the guy who wears the shirt that intrigues Craig so much. It just so happens that he is as curious about Craig as Craig is about he. They get to talking and strike a deal – Jesse is going to become Craig’s tutor to help him get his life together and find a better job.

What I love about this the most is the simplicity of the story. What we get as the reader/listener is a beautiful romance as two men unwittingly get involved and transform each other’s lives.

The one thing I am going to whinge about, and it’s honestly nothing bad about the book or the narration, just the simple fact that I cannot stand how Americans pronounce Craig (i.e. “kreg” instead of “krayg”).