Love You So Madly by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Title: Love You So Madly

Series: Love You So 02

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: Ry Forrest

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 4 hrs 36 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (14th September 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Ben Shane has it all…and he’d like to give some of it back. While he loves his job heading a foundation that funds worthy causes around the world, his engagement to one of America’s wealthiest men leaves him feeling more like a trophy wife than a valued partner. The first warn-ing that his relationship might not be designed to last is his irresistible lust for Dusty Kincaid, the golden-haired, bright-eyed handyman for his company.

Though Dusty is odd for a 23-year-old – no liquor, no sugar, and he can’t even drive – the more Ben gets to know Dusty, the more he admires him. But is Ben going to give up a guy who drives a Ferrari for one who takes the bus?

He must be mad. Dusty knows he and Ben can never work. After all, Ben’s perfect…and Dusty isn’t. But Ben might surprise everyone with proof that he’s only mad in love.

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

Review: Love You So Madly is the second book in Tara Lain’s Love You So series. Tara Lain is an author that I now look forward to reading (or listening). Ry Forrest is a new narrator for me and I have to say that I quite enjoyed the performance. I don’t think that there was anything standout about the performance, I just simply enjoyed the tone and emotion present in Forrest’s voice and it certainly helped me enjoy the story.

As I just said this is the second book in the series, however, it does work as a standalone. I’ve not read (or don’t remember) the first book in the Love You So series, but I had no problem whatsoever with understanding the plot and I don’t even know if I bothered to figure out if we got to meet the couple from the first book.

The story starts with Ben Shane. He seems to have it all. The job of his dreams, heading the charitable foundation arm of big corporation, his job made him happy and he also had a man for himself, who also happens to be the big boss’s son. His new engagement is bringing him a lot of valuable business contacts, though his in laws and fiancé left a lot to be desired since they didn’t nurture the good and kind side of Ben. In short, we start the story knowing that Ben isn’t entirely happy, the man just must figure out what he needs to do to get his life back on track. And it just so happens that this book is just that journey.

Then there is Dusty. He is a sweet guy. He’s twenty-three and still lives with his overprotective mother because of his ongoing health issues associated with his epilepsy. Dusty has a completely different outlook on life and he seems so innocent. However, Dusty is very intelligent, he’s just shy and his health had meant that he had been left a little behind. Dusty is instantly attracted to Ben and Ben knows its wrong to be attracted to Dusty. The two of them seem to need different things in life but they get along well and they are well suited to each other.

The only thing that I struggled with throughout this is story is that I felt that Ben was stringing both douchey fiancé (and he was a selfish man, there is no denying) and kind, sweet Dusty along while he tried to get his shit together. Although, in the end, that is really the story I suppose.

All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliot ~ Audio Review

Title: All the Way to Shore

Series: Stories from the Shore 01

Author: CJane Elliot

Narrator: Tim McKiernan

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 55 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (19th April 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woe-fully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humilia-tion behind. A year later and 40 pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week – Jonah Rutledge – someone good enough to be loved.

Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business suc-cess, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation – including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life – Jonah Rutledge – on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s chal-lenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

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

Review: All the Way to Shore is the first book in CJane Elliot’s series Stories from the Shore. CJane Elliot is a totally new author to me, so I had no idea what to expect. Likewise, Tim McKiernan is a totally new narrator for me. It felt as though I went into this audio book double blind.

Jonathan Vallen is a man drowning in career that has been forced upon him after the death of his beloved brother. Jonathan is a sweet musician who is too gentle for the corporate world. So when his father brings in a man to take over and get the company back into profit, Jonathan decides that he has be true to himself. He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence but he knows what he likes and he knows what he’s good at. He leaves his life behind, moves to Florida and reinvents himself, with his cousin as his main point of contact with the world. He’s happy enough but a couple years down the track the same cousin convinces Jonathan to go on a gay cruise. This is where he sees Marco Pellegrini, the man who took over at his family’s company.

Marco Pellegrini isn’t totally happy with life as he wraps up his current job. Jonathan Vallen isn’t on his radar since the man had fled so soon after Marco had arrived. So when he and his very straight sister get away on a gay cruise he doesn’t realise the guy he meets is the transformed Jonathan Vallen. Especially after the man he meets is introduced to him by the man’s cousin as Jonah.

The two men have a whirlwind affair but everything changes as soon as they get home and the unwitting deception is revealed. Now the men have to sort out their feelings and deal with the fall out from Jonathan’s family. Jonathan fell in love and he isn’t about to give up without a fight – he is a changed man and its because of him that things can change.

This was a great audio experience with an enjoyable story. The only thing I really wasn’t into was the whole flashback (well, flash forwards, really) used to set up the start of each section of the book. It’s a personal preference thing I suppose, but it’s one of those things where I felt that the storm of emotions that happen throughout the story is lessened by telling the reader what has happened. I feel that knowing what happened meant that the impact as we went back to when the events unfolded took away from the journey that the characters went on through the chapters.

Despite this, I do look forward to the second book, especially since after being one of the heroes of this story, Jonathan’s cousin gets his own HEA.

Cowboy in the Crosshairs by B.A. Tortuga ~ Audio Review

Title: Cowboy in the Crosshairs

Series: Dreamspun Desires 53 / Turquoise, New Mexico 01

Author: B.A. Tortuga

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 6 hrs, 23 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (16th August 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.

Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday, he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.

When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there – if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.

The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.

But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?

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

Review: Cowboy in the Crosshairs is the first book a new series called Turquoise, New Mexico by BA Tortuga. I’m a fan of Tortuga’s writing, especially their books with cowboys because cowboys are hot and awesome. But I wouldn’t have thought that without enjoying Tortuga’s writing style, which feel simple and accessible, but at the same time the plotlines are interesting.

The story is about cowboy Wacey Bene. He’s been away from his family’s ranch on the rodeo circuit for ten years after having his heart broken when he was barely out of high school. The boy that broke his heart was TJ. He is now the police chief, but ten years before he was a confused young man who was scared of coming out of the closet and somewhere along the way in the past ten years also decided that he needed to marry a woman so he could have a family. TJ now has two cute little boys and an ex-wife he is good friends with, despite divorcing because he finally was able to come out of the closet to her. These guys need to get over past hurts, as well as TJ needing to help Wacey avoid being injured or killed by some mystery person.

The narration for this audio is by Dorian Bane. I have to admit, I absolutely adore Bane’s voice. He has one of those rich and husky voices that are often spoken of in romances as the type that would make a lady (or anyone) swoon. His voice is well suited to books with rough, tough and ready men – i.e. cowboys and cops and whatnot. Luckily for us, in this book we get both a cowboy and a cop. Interestingly, probably because of the tone and emotion that Bane was able to inject into the story I find that I by far preferred the audio to reading this book and I was less inclined to be bothered by the points that had annoyed me in the original reading. Mostly at the time I had been annoyed with how Wacey and TJ treated each other at the start and I didn’t feel that I got enough plot development as to how they were able to go to a loving relationship. I suppose that is still true, but as I said I was merely less annoyed by this hole in the plot.

Overall, an enjoyable story to pass some time, particularly for those that have a weakness for cowboys and cops.

Dawn and Dusk by Dirk Greyson ~ Audio Review

Title: Dawn and Dusk

Series: Day and Knight 03

Author: Dirk Greyson

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery

Length: 5 hrs, 50 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th October 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: For Scorpion agents Day and Knight, their relationship is slow to develop, and trust is hard to build. Then Day’s brother, Stephen, goes missing, and Day finds out more about him than he ever dreamed. Day’s first reaction to Stephen’s disappearance is to try to get to him as fast as possible.
Knight initially holds him back so they can attempt to find out what they’re walking into. But when Knight sees Day’s desperation, he steps in to help and tries to calm the man he’s growing to care about, even though the trail is cold and clues are scarce.

When Day witnesses his brother being shot live on television, he loses the last of his control. Despite the lack of answers, Day is more determined than ever to find out what happened. Ste-phen was all the family he had left.

Bone-deep fear and adversity threaten to tear Day and Knight apart, but facing unimaginable hardship together might finally cement the bond between them.

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

Review: Dawn and Dusk is the third book in Dirk Greyson’s Day and Knight series. Dirk Greyson is the pen name for Andrew Grey when he’s writing suspense/mysteries or paranormal type books. I’ve read and heard audio from a couple of his other books (not the paranormal ones) besides the Day and Knight series and I am quite happy with reading the departure from the usual Andrew Grey formula that I know and love. In fact, I’m keen to check out what these paranormal stories are. But back to Day and Knight.

So yeah, Day and Knight series has been a great departure from what fans of Grey would usually expect. It follows secret agent guys Day and Knight (their nicknames, its corny but works awesome) as they try to work together and then discover that there is a lot more between them. The series has been a slow burn romance which needs to be read/listened to from the start to get to know the guys and to be able to track the story as each instalment starts off from where the previous book start. If you’re a person that prefers to have a HEA, perhaps now would be the best time to get into the story because we finally get an ending for these guys. However, in saying that both Day and Knight have a lot of demons to battle through, particularly for Knight, who has a tragic past that makes opening his heart to love difficult.

In my opinion Dawn and Dusk is the best book in the series and is a major pay off for anyone who has gone through the journey with the guys.

Day and Knight are back in the real world once more after their adventures in Mexico and Europe. They are excellent at their jobs and work well together, but once, more after arriving home Day is left confused by Knight. As soon as they are back Knight once again struggles with the relationship forming between the two men – which makes sense since the man has tons of baggage and an alcohol dependency that he has been working through. However, Knight is a man that struggles with his inner emotions and so how he treats Day in these periods is less than stellar. Their world is thrown into chaos once more when Day finds out that not only is his brother, a man he has idolised since Steven had raised Day after their parents’ death. Day needs to find his brother and Knight is torn in needing to protect Day and protect his feelings. But things just snowball when Day is shown television footage where he sees his brother shot and he suddenly faces the possibility that his brother is bad guy. This is where Knight steps as he is slowly beginning to come to terms with demons and realises that he will do anything for Day.

What I love about this series is that we’ve taken the time to get to know Day and Knight. They have developed and changed so much from the first book. They have had so much to work through before they could trust each other with their hearts. They needed to get to know each other beyond the physical side of their relationship and the professional side of things. Dawn and Dusk is a really pleasing story where I finally feel like I know these guys and finishing a few months after the first book started, I feel like they are strong together – as well as be awesome men of action. I liked the story with Day’s brother in this book because it gave even more depth to Day.

Andrew McFerrin has done an excellent job narrating this entire series. His voice and the tone he gives to Day and Knight individually suits them so well. It was so easy to get lost in the story just listening to the narration. McFerrin had me emotionally invested right to the end with the guys, something that I’m not completely sure would have happened if I had read the book first.

Bankers’ Hours by Wade Kelly ~ Audio Review

Title: Bankers’ Hours

Author: Wade Kelly

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 12 hrs, 23 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd November 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Even though bankers’ hours leave long weekends for romance, cosmic intervention is Grant’s only option when money doesn’t buy happiness and he’s got virginity in spades.
Grant Adams is a 26-year-old bank teller who’s unlucky at love, yet hopelessly hopeful. After years of horrific first dates, he’s convinced he’s saving himself for true love. Surely he has bad taste in men because it couldn’t possibly be his persnickety nature that’s sent them packing.

Tristan Carr has been in a holding pattern since his daughter was born 15 years ago, which suits his workaholic lifestyle just fine. This ex-naval officer turned auto mechanic never wanted any-one interfering with being a weekend dad. For Tristan to rearrange his carefully orchestrated life, a guy will need to be special. Or, in the case of the newest employee at his bank, the guy will need to be adorable, shy, and open to the prospect of forever when it shows up at his win-dow.

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

Review: Bankers’ Hours is a standalone novel by Wade Kelly and the audio book is narrated by Derrick McClain.

For me Wade Kelly is a completely new author for me, so I had no idea what I was in for in terms of the writing style and the story other than what I read on the blurb. However, Derrick McClain is not a new narrator for me, and I have particularly enjoyed his work narrating contemporary romances. I was not disappointed by the narration of Bankers’ Hours, in fact I think that it probably elevated the story.

This novel is the story of bank teller Grant Adams. The branch that he had been working for had closed and he was one of a handful of employees who have been redeployed to other branches. This means that Grant has made a big move – he’s moved out of the home he shared with his mother and to a completely new town where he has no one. He isn’t out in his new town but that’s only because he doesn’t have anyone to talk to about such things.

At the bank he meets Tristan Carr. He’s a local mechanic. Tall and handsome he is mouth watering and beautiful to Grant, but when Tristan mentions a daughter Grant is disappointed when he comes to conclusion that Tristan is gay. The two see each other around town and this culminates in an invitation of drinks. The thing is Grant doesn’t have the best social skills and he sucks at reading any body language cues from Tristan. The two have a rocky road ahead, fraught with Grant’s nature that seems to be something like anxiety which makes him pick at just about anything and then Tristan has to deal with his teenage daughter and his horrid ex-wife. However, for these guys it isn’t love that’s the problem, it’s getting their lives to align.

On the whole this is a good book with thoroughly enjoyable characters. I will admit to preferring Tristan over Grant. Yeah, Grant has a few odd quirks and is a bit on the clingy and whingy side of things, but I do understand him because I see a lot of myself in Grant. So even though he isn’t my favourite of the two MCs, he is by far the most relatable to me. There isn’t anything too specific that you need to like to get into this book. This is one of those contemporary books that I would recommend to just about anyone.

Add Love and Mix by Sean Michael ~ Audio Review

Title: Add Love and Mix

Author: Sean Michael

Narrator: Steve Balderson

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 34 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd March 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Firefighter Jason “Jase” Weller and EMT Scott Bronson are living the perfect life. They work together in jobs they love, they live together, and in their downtime, they still can’t get enough of each other. It’s been six amazing years. Then on Christmas Eve, Jase’s former lover Elsa shows up with a six-year-old girl in tow. The strung-out junkie claims Kerry is Jase’s daughter and it’s his turn to care for her, and then she walks out.

Shocked at both the fact that Elsa is now a junkie and that he has a daughter he never knew about, Jase nonetheless steps up to the plate as her father and Scott offers his full support. Having an instant family comes with plenty of challenges, and the two men work to deal with sweeping changes in their lives and to make things right for Kerry.

It’s not going to be easy, and their new circumstances test them and their relationship like noth-ing ever has. They’ll need all the love they have for each other–and the love they discover for their daughter–to keep from breaking apart.

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

Review: Add Love and Mix is a totally charming book by Sean Michael, an author that I feel I am only starting to appreciated within the past year. Michael seems to have a knack with creating relatable characters that are both ordinary (thus making them relatable) and yet extraordinary (which makes the story interesting). What I love most about this book is that this isn’t so much a romance of relationship that is starting, it’s the story of a well-established couple who go through an extremely turbulent time which changes their family.

The narration of this book was done by Steve Balderson, who is a totally new narrator for me. Overall, his voice lent great depth to an already awesome book. His voice suited both emergency service worker MCs. I’ll definitely look forward to more books narrated by Balderson because this was simply a fantastic narration.

The story itself about firefighter Jase Weller and EMT Scott Bronson. The two have been together for six years and they see each other at home and work. They never had a reason not be scheduled on the same roster rotation at the fire station they work out of and they have been living a blissful life. All that changes close to Christmas when Jase, who is bisexual, has an unexpected visit from his ex, Elsa, who had been seeing before he got together with Scott. A lot has changed with Elsa and the main part is that Elsa turns up with a little girl, saying that she is Jase’s and that she doesn’t want the kid anymore.

It is a totally heart-breaking scene, especially after hearing of the palpable love between Scott and Jase. This is going to rock their world and their family. But kind and caring Scott immediately makes a rapport with little Kerry. But there is a ways to go before their happily ever after. Both men have to deal with this massive change to their family. Jase must understand what it is to become a father and to begin getting Kerry settled. Of course, Scott is right there next to Jase, supporting Jase and taking on as much responsibility for their daughter as the little girl deals with feelings of being rejected from her junkie mother. Add on to this Scott’s own baggage of knowing what he wants to do – he feels for Kerry because he was adopted by his parents – but the stress can get to even the most sainted of men.

This is the out of the ordinary story of two ordinary men bringing their family together and I loved it. Totally sweet and worth the read!

Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain ~ Audio Review

Title: The Return of the Chauffeur’s Son

Title: Movie Magic Romances 01

Author: Tara Lain

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 28 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (28th September 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Luca McGrath may be returning to Napa Valley, California, as a promising chef with dreams of starting his own restaurant and winery, but his heart still lives with the bad-boy son of a billion-aire James Armstrong. Luca spent his childhood playing games with the golden boy of California society, so blinded by James he barely noticed the dark, quiet lure of his conservative older brother, Dylan Armstrong.

But now Luca’s home, and his own powers of attraction are enough to make James question his dedicated heterosexuality and his promised marriage to a wealthy and powerful businesswoman. The obvious attraction between Luca and James spurs Dylan into action – but he’s fighting a huge secret. While Luca dreamed of James, Dylan dreamed of Luca. When Luca gets caught in the struggle between the brothers and gets accused of culinary espionage, he’s ready to chuck the fairy tale – unable to even imagine Dylan’s power to make his dreams come true.

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

Review: The Return of the Chauffeur’s Son is a standalone book by Tara Lain. Tara Lain is a great author and is so close to becoming a new automatic read for me. It’s sweet and charming and had me engrossed from start to finish. It’s one of those books that I think just about anyone could listen or read this book and enjoy their escape from reality.

The title of the book says it all really. Luca McGrath was raised in Napa Valley by his father after the death of his mother. Luca grew up on the Armstrong winery estate where his father was the family chauffeur and the Armstrong family were kind enough to all Luca to live with his father on the family estate instead of losing their trusted employee. As a result, Luca grew up alongside Armstrong boys, more so James who is Luca’s best friend and Luca’s first crush. He leaves the estate for some years as he makes his way in a culinary whiz, which leads him back to Napa Valley where he can work for some of the most prestigious chefs.

And while he has been pining away for James, he then realises that he quite missed something when it comes to James’ older brother, Dylan. Luca’s homecoming is joyous but things are complicated when it comes to the Armstrong brothers. Dylan is helping Luca with just about everything but doesn’t know how to communicate his feelings. He is the strong and stoic type. While James is a playboy, who is now engaged and seems keen to now suddenly explore his sexuality. Dylan is frustrated because he is attracted to Luca, but his parents are dismissing James’ behaviour as James continued hero worship of his out and proud, gay older brother.

There’s something of a love triangle going on and the story is predictable, however, it is still completely enjoyable. So much fun and so damn romantic!

Overall, this is a fun, sweet and sexy novel that shows us that sometimes a HEA is right in front of us and with the person least expected. I’m quite familiar with Greg Tremblay’s narration and it hit the mark in terms of tone of and giving voice to the two MCs.

Just Like Cats and Dogs by B.A. Tortuga ~ Audio Review

Title: Just Like Cats and Dogs

Series: Sanctuary 01

Author: B.A. Tortuga

Narrator: Joe Formichella

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters

Length: 6 hrs, 41 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (25th January 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Can cats and dogs ever get along, let alone fall in love?

Sam knows you can never go home again. As an orphaned feline shifter raised by wolves, being an outcast is nothing new to him. But the pack is still his family, and when one of them passes away, Sam returns to the New Mexico desert to say good-bye.

Gus is a loner who rarely returns to his pack, but as fate would have it, Sam is there when he chooses to visit. The history between Gus and Sam is tumultuous, to say the least, but when Gus gets an eyeful of the grown-up and gorgeous version of his childhood bully, he can’t con-trol his reaction. And he isn’t alone.

The attraction is powerful, but so are their differences. And with trouble brewing in the pack and danger surrounding them, Sam and Gus might not have the opportunity to seek common ground.

This action-packed shifter novel is the ultimate opposites attract and enemies-to-lovers ro-mance, and it includes a bonus novella, In the Dog House.

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

Review: Just Like Cats and Dogs is the first book in BA Tortuga’s Sanctury series, paranormal/shape shifter romance. Since finding myself a fan of Tortuga’s writing (I’ve discovered that I find it so easy to connect to the story and the characters) I was looking forward to reading the author’s take on the shape shifter genre, because before this I think I’ve only read or listened to contemporary novels in the past. This was a pleasant departure which, for the most part I enjoyed. I found that I had an interesting mix of feelings for the story as well as the narration. Anyone who is into shifter romances will definitely enjoy this story.

So, into the narration. Joe Formichella is a new narrator to me and I was left with mixed feelings. I thought that he lent a good voice and tone to the characters, however, I thought that there was some inflection lacking in the overall presentation of his voice. At times the narration seemed flat. I’m a person who listens to every book at 1.35x speed, so I imagine it would have been a lot more difficult to listen to at normal speed.

The story itself was quite interesting. The MCs are Sam and Gus.

Sam is a feline shifter who was orphaned and then adopted by a mated wolf couple who adopted a number of shifter children to create their eclectic family. The problem with being the only feline in a pack of wolves is that Sam has never been allowed to shifter and run with his brothers and sisters and parents because the alpha does not want the wolves to get out of control and attacked Sam. I understand the sentiment, but it does feel clear from the start that alpha was quite OTT with some of his protections. Gus is a wolf who was born into the pack but he is a loner. His little brother is Sam’s best friend and at most has always thought of Sam as a pest. Gus is the strong and silent type from the start but will do anything to help his family and his pack.

Tragedy brings Sam back to his home pack, knowing that he will only be able to stay for a short period of time because it has been clear to him since he was a child that besides his parents and siblings, he did not belong in the pack. His father has died suddenly and despite being shifters there had been not enough time to help him. When he arrives home, he runs into Gus. The two have always had an uneasy relationship but now that they are both older something has changed between them. Between the emotions and having trouble dealing with the pack he grew up in, he finds he also must deal with the mutual attraction between him and Gus. Their relationship is complicated, pack structure made sure of this and their personality differences merely cemented it.

These guys have a rocky journey and it takes time, which is rather a change of pace from many shifter based stories. They guys need time for their relationship, and their characters to develop, which is totally pleasing. At the end of this audio there is also the bonus novella which is about Sam and Gus in the life they made for themselves, it is also vital set up for the next book. The only thing I need to say, once again associated with the narration, is that it was a little confusing because there didn’t seem to be any pause between the end of the novel and the start of the novella, which had me confused for a few moments. Although this is probably because I didn’t read the blurb properly and see that there was a bonus story at the end.

All in all, this is an enjoyable audio and very enjoyable world we’ve been set in. I can’t wait for the next book.

Fire and Granite by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Title: Fire and Granite

Series: Carlisle Deputies 02

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Suspense

Length: 6 hrs, 2 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (1st November 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: The heat is growing from the inside, but danger is building on the outside.

Judge Andrew Phillips runs a tight ship in his courtroom. He’s tough, and when he hands down a sentence, he expects to be obeyed. So when a fugitive named Harper escapes and threatens his life, Andrew isn’t keen on 24/seven protection…especially not from Deputy Clay Brown. They have a past, one that could cause problems in their careers.

But with Clay assigned to Andrew and the two of them together every minute, there’s nowhere to hide from their attraction – or from the fact that there’s much more than chemistry blooming between them. As the threat intensifies, Clay knows he’ll do anything it takes to protect the peo-ple who are taking their places in his heart: Andrew and his young niece and nephew.

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

Review: Fire and Granite is the second book in Andrew Grey’s Carlisle Deputies series, which is a spin off of his Carlisle Cops series and has the same naming convention in that each book from both series is called “Fire and…”. I really enjoyed Carlisle Cops series. I’ve only read all of Carlisle Cops books and have heard the audio narration for half of the series. I’ve also read the first book of this series but again, have not heard the audio. Fire and Granite does work as a standalone book, although I do remember back to other books when we meet up with the various people on the Carlisle police force. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember the first book of this series all that well, but I remembered the names when I came across the characters in this book.

Granite and Fire is the story of Deputy Clay Brown and Judge Andrew Phillips. The two do not get along well at all, although Clay has no idea why the judge is a bit of a dick to him. Especially since they encounter each other in the courtroom when Clay needs to give testimony it can make for slightly awkward times and it makes a certain deputy very grumpy, but it’s a sexy kind of grumpy so I’m all good with that. They are thrown together when a prisoner transport goes wrong and sees two deputies in hospital and Clay uninjured when his no-good cousin (no love lost between the two men) is broken free and the deranged man goes after the judge he swore revenge on the last time he was in a court room. Now Clay is keeping guard on Andrew and the two men have no choice but to sort out their differences. However, in a pleasant turn of events their differences aren’t really differences at all. But the stakes are ramped up when Andrew, in the middle of being threatened by a criminal, needs to go out of state and then make a home for his niece and nephew as his sister struggles with mental illness. Clay is by his side every step of the way and the two men are quickly coming to realise just what that means to them and their hearts and their futures.

Narration for this book was by Greg Tremblay. I’ve heard Tremblay’s narration a number of times in the past, including a few other Andrew Grey books. I find Tremblay’s tone and timbre well suited to the characters that Grey writes and all in all, I have no complaints. I was really happy with how well paced the narration was and the voices and emotions given to the characters, particularly the kids. Grey tends to write kids into a lot of his books and sometimes narrators miss the mark with the little ones, but Tremblay was on point in my opinion.

This is perfect for those that love to read or listen to cops falling in love as they try to solve the crime, get the man they want to put in gaol and get the man that they want in their life and their bed.

Don’t Let Go by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Title: Don’t Let Go

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 6 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (13th December 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Avery Rivers is a country music sensation, selling records by the millions and playing to sold-out crowds. But behind that persona is Robert, a burned-out musician cracking under the pressure. He’s unable to write any new songs, and he wants out of the business – at least for a while. He changes his appearance and finds honest hard work in Jackson, Wyoming. Maybe getting to be a regular guy for a while will get him past his block.

Hy Whitely was a championship bull rider until he watched his best friend thrown in the arena and decided the rodeo circuit was no longer the place for him. He wants to be plain old Zeke for a while, and when he returns to his family ranch, he bumps right into Robert – a one-night stand from his last rodeo appearance – who is now working there as a ranch hand.

The heat between the men could sear the grass off the range, but each one is hiding a secret. Robert and Zeke, the men behind the public images, fall in love, but can they hold on when Avery and Hy are pulled back into the spotlight?

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

Review: Don’t Let Go by Andrew Grey has three things that I absolutely love. Firstly, a book written by Andrew Grey is instantly on my to be read pile, second there is cowboys (on the rodeo circuit at that) and thirdly, I’m a sucker for a country singer out for a bit of romance.

This was a totally satisfying audio. The story was super sweet and the chemistry was on point, just as I expect from Andrew Grey. The last couple books I read of his had left me a little disappointed and so to me was a return to what I love about his writing. The audio narration was by Jeff Gelder, who I’ve heard narrate books in the past (and probably other Andrew Grey books too). I enjoyed the narration. He had provided a good voice for the two MCs and was good in conveying their emotions through words and tone. Overall, his style was rather laid back, which for the most part suited the backdrop of the story.

The story starts with Robert, aka Avery Rivers, is a massive star in the country music world. He is at the end of a long and exhausting tour but is already dealing with the pressure for more tour dates as well as write songs and record his new album. The biggest problem is that the words and the music are just not coming, and he is dangerously close to burning out. And so ready to drop the Avery Rivers persona and be just Robert, at least for a little while. He wants nothing more than for the music to come back but he is already fighting the fear that they will never come back if he doesn’t take this break. So, Robert shaves his hair off and makes himself only contactable by phone and he hits the road. A one-night stand while attending a rodeo sends Robert to Jackson where he manages to find work on a ranch helping an older gent on his property. For Robert it’s a dream because he had grown up on a ranch until his parents lost it and were forced to leave the land.

Hy Whitely is a star on the rodeo circuit. His actual name is Zeke and uses the stage name to maintain his privacy. He has an eventful tournament though, when his road buddy is seriously injured and sent to hospital, but not before he had a one-night stand that rocked his world. After speaking about home to Robert, who he had met a bar and after the events that culminated in Zeke winning the rodeo, he heads home to help his father on the ranch.

The biggest shock is seeing Robert again, who was just hired by his father. Zeke isn’t sure how he could live on the same property as Robert without taking him to bed again, especially without his father knowing. Things are complicated because the two men are keeping secrets from each other. Despite Robert being higher on the superstar food chain, both men are celebrities but don’t want to risk everything – just yet – and reveal their secrets, that is until they must. The biggest hurdle they face

In a lot of ways Robert and Zeke are two sides of the same coin and together they are everything that turns you to goo and believe in love. They are well matched together, I enjoyed the lack of angst and drama considering both men use stage names, not revealing their identities to each other on purpose for most of the story. is how to maintain a relationship when their jobs are not conducive to being together. Along the way I thought it was funny that Zeke’s father is the voice of reason here, although Zeke doesn’t get along with his father terribly well, the man is a rough and gruff country man and found him quite likable, particularly at the end.

If you’re into cowboys and rodeos and a splash of celebrity this will suit you. Like me, I know the whole western/cowboy/ranch sub-genre is pretty damn popular in MM and so if this is your thing, go for it I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

A Wish Upon the Stars by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

Title: A Wish Upon the Stars

Series: Tales of Verania 04

Author: T.J. Klune

Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: 18 hrs, 17 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (28th November 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to fol-low the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.

The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.

But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices – and the friends he left behind.

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

Review: I absolutely adore TJ Klune. I adore just about every book he writes. I love how he can make a reader laugh and cry within the same book within pages of each other. But mostly I love how he can keep an audience entertained where I am, more often than not, laughing throughout a book, and in the case of audio books I’m often on public transport trying not to be obvious. However, that also applies for when I’m on public transport and trying not to cry.

A Wish Upon the Stars is the fourth and final book in TJ Klune’s Tales of Verania. The whole concept of wishing upon the stars is a theme that has been present throughout the series, as have the titles of the other books. However, I feel that this is the most aptly named of the series. It is essential to read this series in order because this is complex world that has been built, with some equally complex characters that are very well developed and at this point I am completely invested in.

The world is completely different in the aftermath of the previous book, The Consumption of Magic. Sam, strong willed as he is, decided that he had to fulfil the prophecy of the Great White Dragon (or as Sam calls him, GW). And so after being away almost a year, he has returned to chaos. On top of that his friends are furious with him, especially his very own knight and wizard’s cornerstone, Ryan Foxheart. They have become hardened warriors as the dark wizards take over and it is pure heartbreak. On top of that, the king is now held prisoner, but this has given the chance for Prince Justin to step up and become an absolutely amazing character. The only person he has on side at first is Kevin, who is also in the proverbial doghouse with Gary, since the dragon had followed Sam with no words to his sassy unicorn lover.

There is more heartbreak to comes as the ends of the stories are eventually woven and we find out the fate of Verania. This book brings in a lot more humour as the gang is reunited and are finally working together once again to defeat Myrin and the dark wizards he commands. There are so many funny moments, including when we get to meet Gary’s twin brother or the interpretive dance that was performed as Gary tells the story of how he lost his horn and therefore a great deal of his magic. I was so glad that that storyline was resolved and we got to see Gary return to all his glory as the pieces came together and the final battle takes place.

As with the previous instalments in this series Michael Lesley’s is an absolute joy. His delivery is heartfelt and pretty much flawless. He has carried on to the end with the same distinct voices that he gave to all the characters, which I feel has enhanced the entire experience. He wonderfully articulates the emotion in the characters as they go through their highs and lows. I don’t want to keep gushing as I know that I am repeating myself about my adoration of Lesley’s narration and Klune’s writing. Cannot recommend enough.

I am sad to see the end of this series. I was surprised that I did in fact love The Lightning Struck, which is why I continued on to the next three books, after not enjoying reading it a few years ago when it first came out. I absolutely loved the ending as the ends all tied together. I feel battered and bruised but just as Klune expertly does, he’s pulls you apart with the emotions he injects into his words and slowly builds you back up, even when the odds were completely against our heroes. Rumour has it TJ plans to do a story for Prince Justin (Sam’s best friend 5eva) and that is something I look forward to, although the man seems so busy I’m sure it’s going to be at least a few years.

The Consumption of Magic by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

Title: The Consumption of Magic

Series: Tales of Verania 03

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: 18 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th April 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Sam of Wilds faced the Dark wizard Myrin and lived to tell the tale. Granted, the battle left him scarred, but things could be a hell of a lot worse.

It’s not until he reunites with Morgan of Shadows and Randall that he realizes just how much worse things could be.
Because the scars have meaning and hint at Myrin’s true plans for Sam and the Kingdom of Verania.

With time running out, Sam and his band of merry misfits – the unicorn Gary, the half-giant Tig-gy, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart, and the dragon known as Kevin – must travel to the snowy mountains in the North and the heart of the Dark Woods to convince the remaining drag-ons to stand against Myrin. Along the way, Sam learns secrets of the past that will forever change the course of the future.

A reckoning is coming for Sam of Wilds, and there is nothing he can do to stop it.

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

Review: I absolutely adore TJ Klune. I adore just about every book he writes. I love how he can make a reader laugh and cry within the same book within pages of each other. But mostly I love how he can keep an audience entertained where I am, more often than not, laughing throughout a book, and in the case of audio books I’m often on public transport trying not to be obvious. However, that also applies for when I’m on public transport and trying not to cry.

The Consumption of Magic is the third book in TJ Klune’s Tales of Verania. It is essential to read this series in order because this is complex world that has been built, with some equally complex characters that are very well developed and at this point I am completely invested in.

We pick up once again after the events of A Destiny of Dragons. The situation in Verania is going to shit quite quickly. Correction, it has gone to shit and it will only get worse before it can get better. The dark wizards are taking over, led by Myrin (I’m sorry, as a Harry Potter fan I had to think of Voldemort) and it is Sam who must prepare with help of Ryan, his mentor, parents and his friends Tiggy, Kevin and Gary to bring the prophecy full circle. This is an even rockier journey than book 2, with a cliff hanger that will leave you absolutely gutted (lucky for us the series is now completed so no need to wait for the next book to be published!). Sam has so many tough decisions to make, all he wants is to protect his dearest friends, family and his beloved Ryan. He will do anything for them and that unfortunately is his weakness. There are still moments of hilarity but the stakes are getting higher and so there is a lot more serious moments and a lot more moment where you sense the impending doom as we make our way to the end of the series.

As with the previous instalments in this series Michael Lesley’s is an absolute joy. His delivery is heartfelt and pretty much flawless. As in book 2, he also carried on the distinct voices that he gave to all the characters. He wonderfully articulates the emotion in the characters as they go through their highs and lows. I don’t want to keep gushing as I know that I am repeating myself about my adoration of Lesley’s narration and Klune’s writing. Cannot recommend enough.

A Destiny of Dragons by T.J. Klune ~ *Audio Review*

Title: A Destiny of Dragons

Series: Tales of Verania 02

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: High Fantasy

Length: 16 hrs, 41 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th November 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Once upon a time, the wizard’s apprentice, Sam of Wilds, got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam’s been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Jus-tin they will be best friends forever. Life is good.

Until it’s not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the gypsy clan and Sam’s grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv. Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam’s true cornerstone.

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

Review: I absolutely adore TJ Klune. I adore just about every book he writes. I love how he can make a reader laugh and cry within the same book within pages of each other. But mostly I love how he can keep an audience entertained where I am, more often than not, laughing throughout a book, and in the case of audio books I’m often on public transport trying not to be obvious. However, that also applies for when I’m on public transport and trying not to cry.

That being said, there are a few of his books which I’ve not really connected with when I first read them and never went back. The Lightning Struck Heart, the first book in the Tales of Verania series, was one of them. However, I’ve seen the light, I gave it another go and absolutely fell in love (for this reason my review of book 1 is quite long, but I promise to tame reviews for the rest of the series). So here I am, at the end of book 2, A Density of Dragons, in the Tales of Verania series and ready to continue.

This series is an epic saga so it is vital to read this series from the start and not do it out of order either.

A Destiny of Dragons picks up where we left off at the end of book one. Sam and Ryan (aka Knight Delicious Face, which I say in my head in the voice lent to Tiggy by Michael Lesley) are finally together, but Sam still has the tendency to get into trouble. His friends are as whacky as ever and part of Sam’s antics is to become Prince Justin’s “best friend 5eva” and help him find love. This is sort of changed when Sam’s estranged gypsy grandmother, Vadoma, makes an appearance and reveals that Sam’s fate and his importance to Verania is something prophesised and essential to the survival of the people. I mean, this just shows that Sam is always getting into trouble for a reason. This book is the start of what I can already see is going to be a long, winding and very hard road for our hero, which is uplifted by continual moments of hilarity. Once again, Gary, Kevin and Tiggy are wonderful highlights of the book as they help Sam, and by extension Ryan too, start to unravel the extent of what is about to shake the foundations of their world.

As with the first book, and I suspect with the next two books of the series, Michael Lesley’s is an absolute joy. For me, I call a book which is laying in a lot of groundwork for the complex storylines to follow a “filler book”. As a very general rule, I find the even numbered books in these complex type series good not as good as the odd numbered books. Mostly because these books feel like they have a less meaty plot but are absolutely necessary. I’m saying this because Lesley’s narration kept me hooked and I never once got tempted to skip through scenes or chapters.

Lesley’s delivery of the story itself was just as brilliant as the first book. He carried on the distinct voices that he gave to all the characters in that instalment. He wonderfully articulates the emotion in the characters as they go through their highs and lows. Seriously, this is audio bliss.

The Lightning Struck Heart by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

Title: The Lightning Struck Heart

Series: Tales of Verania 01

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: Fantasy

Length: 19 hrs, 49 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (10th December 2015)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king’s wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam’s 14, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At 15, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle – Knight Ryan Fox-heart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the king sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or, so he thinks.

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

Review: So this is going to be an interesting review for me. I absolutely adore TJ Klune. I adore just about every book he writes. I love how he can make a reader laugh and cry within the same book within pages of each other. But mostly I love how he can keep an audience entertained where I am, more often than not, laughing throughout a book, and in the case of audio books I’m often on public transport trying not to be obvious. However, that also applies for when I’m on public transport and trying not to cry.

That being said, there are a few of his books which I’ve not really connected with when I first read them and never went back. The Lightning Struck Heart was one of them. I remember struggling when it first came out, although it had all the hallmarks of something that I would love. I love the book series Temeraire and Eragon, which has some similar themes and feels – mostly dragons, but I also love The Princess Bride which this audio had me thinking as I listened. I’ve also read a review of someone referring to Monty Python too, and to be honest I suppose the line “Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony”. So think that can be a valid comparison too, although I had initially scoffed because I love Monty Python and at that point I was still sceptical of trying this book again.

But being that I am a Klunatic I would see many “Gary and Kevin” references and “Sam and Ryan” references on the group Facebook page – cartoons, lots of unicorns and dragons. Out of respect to TJ, who is in the group, and to all those that love the book, I simply let it be and never said anything because this was just my opinion. However, I eventually decided that I need to give this another try. I just hoped that perhaps when I read it, I simply was not in the right frame of mind – the amount of stress that I was under at that time in terms of health and education I figured that was reason enough to finally give it another go.

I am so happy that I did because quite suddenly I adore this book too and everything about it.

The Lightning Struck Heart is the first book in the saga that is The Tales of Verania, where we meet Sam of the Wilds. Sam has the potential to be an extremely powerful wizard and for some years now he has been the apprentice wizard to the king’s wizard in the City of Lockes. He is a bit of disaster but has the aspiration to become the youngest wizard to have ever passed his trails to graduate from apprentice wizard to full wizard. He never made a good impression on his mentor’s own mentor, and that is a hilarious story that I can’t spoil. For years Sam has been in love with dreamiest of knights in the kingdom, Ryan Foxheart, who is about to be promoted to the leader of the king’s knights. The problem being that Ryan is engaged to Prince Justin. Justin and Sam do not get along but one day Justin will be king and Sam will be his wizard. Sam is also never far from his best friends, a half giant called Tiggy (love Tiggy!) and a sassy talking unicorn who lost his horn, Gary. Honestly, Gary is a total star.

This book is just laying the foundations for the rest of the series, so we are introduced to Sam and all these other characters. Although Sam and Ryan are the main characters, they aren’t the only prominent ones. Tiggy, Gary and Justin take over as well, and towards the end of the book we also meet the charmingly sexually perverse dragon, Kevin, who is also a bit of a wild ride to get to know (pun intended).

Michael Lesley’s is an absolute joy to listen. I really don’t know what I loved more, the story itself or how it was delivered. He gives distinct voices to all the characters, including Sam’s parents, the king and the rest of the gang that I’ve mentioned. He wonderfully articulates the emotion in the characters as they go through their highs and lows. And in the midst of ridiculous hilarity as Sam gets kidnapped and despairs of villains who monologue has sounding absolutely serious down to an art. This is the start of an epic journey and I can’t wait to hear Lesley’s narration as the series goes on.

The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams & Will Knauss ~ Audio Review

Jeff Adams & Will Knauss - The Hockey Player's Heart Audio CoverTitle: The Hockey Player’s Heart

Series: Hockey Hearts 01,  Dreamspun Desires 50

Author: Jeff Adams & Will Knauss

Narrator: Finn Sterling

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 4 hrs, 56 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th March 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?

When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R&R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser. Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?

Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: The Hockey Player’s Hearts is a wonderfully sugary sweet friends to lovers book tale that just happens to involve a professional, out and proud, NHL player and an equally out and proud small town school teacher. Neither author was known to me before listening to this audio, nonetheless I looked forward to a sports themed romance.

The story sends professional NHL player who is the Captain of the New York Rangers, and one of few out and proud hockey players (including his best friend and team mate Dimitri), Caleb Carter back to his small hometown in upstate New York. He broke his ankle on the ice and desperately wants out of New York so he can recuperate in peace. While his parents are away on a around the world tour, he gets to spend time with his big sister, who is now the principal of the elementary school they attended. Tagging along, helping his sister he encounters her best friend and Caleb’s school crush. Aaron Price.

Aaron is portrayed as a nerd. When they were kids, Aaron helped Caleb pass math by tutoring him. It was what gave Aaron his passion to become a teacher. College had taken him to California, where he could be himself (i.e. explore his sexuality). He had stayed in LA until a failed relationship with a closeted baseball player and then losing his job, but luck was on his side when his best friend, the principal of his hometown elementary school and Caleb’s sister, handed him a lifeline with a job at the school. Aaron has a lot of baggage from his time in LA and renewing a friendship that could lead to more with Caleb forces Aaron to examine his feelings.

The narration of this audio was done by Finn Sterling, I looked up my audio bookshelf to find out that I’ve only heard Sterling’s narration sometime last year and then again just the other day. Finn Sterling is another wonderful narrator for the Dreamspun Desires house line. The narration for The Hockey Player’s Heart was great, Sterlings put a great voice onto both main characters, as well as a number of minor characters (especially Caleb’s sister and his best friend). He puts the right tone into the main character Aaron, who has a lot of baggage that could sabotage his HEA so that his indecision and his desperate need not to caught by another pro athlete.

Over all this was a fun story. I loved the hockey aspect of the story, it was weaved perfectly throughout and not just used as incidental background information. Caleb and Aaron have a lot of history together, yet these guys developed a lot throughout the story. The only criticism I have is that I occasionally found Aaron’s need to protect his heart because Caleb is a pro athelete a little frustrating and I wanted to shake him. This looks like it’s going to be a series (I’m hoping Caleb’s best friend, Dimitri, will have his own story).

A Courageous Ride by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - A Courageous Ride Audio CoverTitle: A Courageous Ride

Series: The Bullriders 03

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 8 hrs, 26 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th July 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Blurb: Aspiring orchestra conductor Marshall is exhausted after months of auditions without a single job offer. Marshall’s friend Terry recommends a change of scenery and points Marshall in the direction of a dude ranch run by former bull rider Indigo Santana. Marshall is understandably skeptical, but his friend is convincing, and Marshall needs a break, so he agrees to go.

Indigo captures Marshall’s attention but leaves him confused. Indigo’s confidence is shot after an injury ended his rodeo career, and he walks with a slight limp. He hasn’t been anywhere near a bull since he was hurt, and he’s not the most accommodating host. After all, the only reason he keeps guests is because his family ranch is all but bankrupt.

Marshall’s attraction doesn’t go unanswered, which leaves him with a huge dilemma. He’s torn between the possibility of love, something he’s searched for all his life, and the career he’s worked toward for as long as he can remember, which is miles away. From his side of the fence, Indigo doesn’t see how the ranch could ever be enough.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: A Courageous Ride is the third book in Andrew Grey’s cowboy/western series, The Bullriders. Any fans of cowboy romances will love this book. I recommend reading books 1 and 2 if you haven’t already because there are a few well developed characters that pop up from the previous books. I love this series for the simplicity of the story, leaving plenty of room for the characters to develop and fall in love in a way that seems to be more organic than quickly falling into bed and bam, they’re in love. Although, in saying that, the men in these stories also have enough baggage that there isn’t a dull moment.

I think, though, that this book is my favorite in the series, I think because there seems to be a lot more at stake in this one than the previous books. Although the over arching theme of the series continues to be moving on and learning how to let love in. it’s really a beautiful thing.

This story takes place on a different ranch than books 1 and 2, a dude ranch that also happens to be a working ranch that is run by Indigo Santana. The Princess Bride and Santana went through my head, especially at the point where Indigo himself talks about the character Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.

Indigo is an ex rodeo rider who has was forced to retire after he was severely injured. Now he works his guts out trying to keep his family ranch above water, which is why he has set up the dude ranch part of his business. He is your typical gruff cowboy with a heart of gold, but unlike the previous books, he is a cowboy who isn’t exactly in the closet, but he certainly doesn’t advertise himself either. However, he hides his goodness because his confidence took a real blow when he got the career ending injury, so he likes to act like a grumpy bear and he hasn’t even been near a bull since the accident. In fact, if he wants his guests to meet a bull riding champion, he invites his friend and neighbor, Dante Rivers, over (yep, that’s the guy from book one).

Marshall is a mentally and physically exhausted when we first meet him at the start of the book. He has been going to countless auditions to become an orchestral conductor. However, he is not having much luck. So of course he isn’t at his best, and it is his friend Terry that convinces Marshall to go to a new dude ranch he knows about instead of going back to his difficult parents in New York. Marshall goes to the ranch and quickly finds himself feeling better and within a short time he is starts to be able to access his career options carefully. Even though his controlling mother finds a way to disrupt him. In between all that, he finds a deep connection with Indigo, which brings in a whole lot more complications.

These guys have a long and winding road ahead of them but I particularly found it very easy to relate to Marshall. Although Indigo is a pretty damn awesome character who I only just wanted to give a warm hug!

As usual John Solo has done a fantastic narration, giving each character their own individual voice, which conveys the emotions and assaulting the ear with all the feels you could possibly want. I love to hear Solo’s narration on any book I get on audio and I am rarely disappointed.

A Daring Ride by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - A Daring Ride Audio CoverTitle: A Daring Ride

Series: The Bullriders 02

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 7 hrs

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (23rd March 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Simon “Frizz” Frizzell sneaks away to the rodeo on weekends, and it’s not until after he wins a buckle that he tells his parents about his bull-riding. He knows they won’t approve of his choice of sport, but his parents own a Christian bookstore, and he couldn’t possibly tell them the whole truth: He’s gay. And so are some of his rodeo friends, like Dante and Ryan, and Jacky – a young man he wishes could have been more than a one-night stand. When Simon sets his sights on his dreams, he finds work with Dante and Ryan, and bumps into Jacky on the job.

Jacky Douglas is a rodeo fanatic, plain and simple. He loves the ride, and he loves the cowboys. He fell hard for Frizz when they met, and theirs was a one-night stand made in heaven. When they meet again, Jacky thinks it’s a stroke of luck. Frizz takes some convincing, but once he’s on board, they begin a relationship. The fledgling romance faces a challenge when news of it travels all the way to the one place Frizz doesn’t want it to go: his parents’ bookstore.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: A Daring Ride is the second book in Andrew Grey’s cowboy/western series, The Bullriders. Any fans of cowboy romances will love this book. I recommend reading book 1 first if you haven’t already because the couple from the first book, Dante and Ryan, do feature quite heavily in this instalment. I love this series for the simplicity of the story, leaving plenty of room for the characters to develop and fall in love in a way that seems to be more organic than quickly falling into bed and bam, they’re in love. Although, in saying that, the men in these stories also have enough baggage that there isn’t a dull moment.

This second book is the story of Jacky Douglas and Simon Frizell, aka Frizz. Jacky is a rodeo fanatic and best friend to Ryan from book 1, which is mostly the reason why Ryan and Dante pop up so often. He loves the everything about the rodeo, including the hot men. Jacky is out and proud and when he meets bull rider, Frizz, he definitely likes what he sees. Jacky isn’t exactly what I would call a free spirit, but he knows what he wants and he isn’t afraid of what people think.

Frizz on the other hand, constantly worries about what people thinks. He has two major secrets in his life. One, that he is a bull rider and competes in rodeos on the weekends. Two, that he’s gay. He is terrified he will lose his family and friends if they ever find out. Yet when he meets Jacky properly, he finds himself on a journey of self-discovery. He feels he can’t have Jacky, then he feels he can on do a one-night stand, then this loops around to Jacky deserving a lot better than that. The main plot of this book is Frizz coming to terms with himself, allowing himself to fall in love and basically taking life by the horns and holding on (pun fully intended).

As usual John Solo has done a fantastic narration, giving each character their own individual voice, which conveys the emotions and assaulting the ear with all the feels you could possibly want. I love to hear Solo’s narration on any book I get on audio and I am rarely disappointed.

A Wild Ride by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - A Wild Ride Audio CoverTitle: A Wild Ride

Series: The Bullriders 01

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 6 hrs, 55 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (27th February 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Dante Rivers just lost the rodeo by two 100ths of a point; he’s frustrated as hell, needs to get laid, and he knows just where to go. That night, he meets Ryan Abbott and catches his eye – Ryan watched the rodeo and is still riding high on the rush. The chemistry between them ignites, but Dante, unable to deal with complications, leaves while Ryan’s asleep.

Ryan figures he’ll never see Dante again, but they’re fatefully reunited when Dante’s grandfather, Hy, hires Ryan to help straighten out some old investments. The attraction between Ryan and Dante still sizzles. Sex slowly turns to more, but obstacles abound: Hy’s failing health, Dante’s homophobic sponsor, an attack on Ryan, and Dante’s own struggle with his identity. Any one thing would be enough to separate them permanently…unless they both decide to hang on for the wild ride.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I love a good cowboy book and throw in the fact that it’s written by Andrew Grey and I’m sold. I love the rugged sexiness of a strong cowboy with a heart of gold as much as the next person. For those into that type of thing then you’ll probably enjoy this book.

The book begins with the high adrenaline scene of cowboy Dante Rivers doing his final ride on the back of a bucking bull in the rodeo finals. He heartbreakingly loses first place by the narrowest of margins (to someone who is a bit of dick, if you ask me, and I guess you have in a way). So to vent his pent up frustration he meets a guy in a bar for a hot and heavy one night stand.

Dante never thought that he would meet Ryan Abbott again. In fact, Ryan, who thought about Dante long after their one-night stand, never expects to get a phone call that would bring him back into Ryan’s orbit again. Ryan is an investment guru who is hired by Dante’s grandfather, Hy to help fix up some old investments. The attraction is sizzling hot but being a cowboy story, the guys have to deal with coming out of the closet and homophobia – because, you know, no cowboy can be gay, right? Dante’s grandfather is also ill, which is another stress in his life. Hy is an old rascal and such a lovable character, his character is wonderfully reflected in Dante, showing the strong link between the two after Hy had raised his grandson from a young age.

The plot line is fairly simple, but it is all heart and emotion. I don’t want to go too much into it because I feel there would be too much spoiler.

For me the narration by John Solo was the icing on the cake. I’ve always enjoyed Solo’s work. He has a fantastic grittiness to his voice that especially suits the voice of a rough and ready cowboy. I especially enjoyed the voice that he gave Dante, although Ryan’s voice was also pretty damn good.

Running to You by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Andrew Grey - Running To You Audio CoverTitle: Running to You

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Jack Richmond

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 8 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th July 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Home, love, and possibilities he never imagined are waiting for Billy Joe to claim them. But first he needs to escape the horrors of his past.

A twisted act of cruelty and prejudice drives Billy Joe from his Mississippi home, and he makes it as far as Pennsylvania – where his car breaks down just as the year’s first snowstorm blows in. Fortunately, Carlos is there to lend a hand.

Carlos is no stranger to hardship. His family rejected him for being gay, but with determination, he put himself through school and became a librarian. Carlos sees the same willpower in Billy, and he wants to help Billy and his son succeed in a new life that is very different from the one they left behind.

With his support, they start to adjust, and before long, both men want more than encouragement from each other. They want the chance for a future together, but their families have other ideas…and Billy’s will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Running to You is a standalone novel by Andrew Grey. Fans of Andrew Grey will be familiar with his trademark formula and may also love his ability to create and development character with deep emotional connections, who are also totally relatable. Suffice to say, if you’re a fan of Grey, you will enjoy this book.

The story is about Billy Joe and Carlos. The story starts with Billy Joe having to sneak off, running away from his white supremacist family, with his much beloved 2-year-old son, Tyler. Tyler is absolutely adorable, by the way. The situation Billy Joe is running away from is pure tragedy. It is no surprise that he feels he must go to the lengths that he does to steal away with his son before his parents could do much more of their monstrous acts with their fellow white supremacist buddies. Billy Joe drives as far as he can before his car breaks down, leaving him stranded in Pennsylvania. He just hopes its far enough away from the horror he left behind in Mississippi.

Billy Joe and Tyler are saved by a good Samaritan, Carlos. Carlos knows what its like to have to run away from an unaccepting family. However, his family situation is nowhere near as frightening Billy Joe’s it’s still a tragedy in itself. Carlos helps Billy Joe and Tyler settle, although it is quickly apparent that the guys have an intense chemistry.

This is a real sweet, slow burn type of story. The guys don’t rush into their relationship as this learn how Tyler also fits into their lives, as well as dealing with their baggage. The families of both guys also make an appearance to cause some drama, but through it all, it becomes increasingly clear that these guys belong together.

The narration for this audio was wonderful. Jack Richmond is a totally new narrator for me and I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the smooth, southern tones he gave to Billy Joe, he also nailed Billy’s emotion, which for me was the most important part of this story. He also does a remarkable job with Carlos and conveying his emotions, but Billy Joe’s voice is by far the highlight of the audio narration.

Sun and Shadow by Dirk Greyson ~ Audio Review

Dirk Greyson - Sun and Shadow Audio CoverTitle: Sun & Shadow

Series: Day & Knight 02

Author: Dirk Greyson

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Genre: Contemporary, Suspense

Length: 7 hrs, 4 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th July 2017)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Blurb: Dayton “Day” Ingram is recovering from an injury suffered in Mexico – and from his failed relationship with fellow Scorpion agent Knight. While researching an old government document, Day realizes he might be holding the key to finding an artistic masterpiece lost since WWII.
But the Russians are looking for it, too, and they have a team in place in Eastern Europe hunting it down. Day and Knight are brought back together when they are charged with getting to the painting first.

Knight wants to leave Mexico and everything that happened there behind and return to the life he had – except it wasn’t much of a life. When he’s partnered up with Day, keeping his distance proves to be challenging. But Day is as stubborn as Knight and isn’t willing to let him walk away.

Their assignment leads them through Germany and Austria with agents hot on their tail – agents willing to do whatever it takes to get to the masterpiece first. If Day and Knight can live long enough to find the painting, they might also discover something even more precious – each other.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Sun & Shadow is the second book in Dirk Greyson’s Day and Knight series. Since having discovered that Dirk Greyson is Andrew Grey’s pen name, I’ve been keen to get my hands on some of his books. I’m quite particular about my suspense books, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the two books in this series.

If you’ve not read the first book, Day and Knight, you have to go back and read it, it is vital as Sun and Shadow picks up where it left off. This is the continuation of Dayton’s, aka Day, and Knighton’s, aka Knight, romance, which is just as rocky as it was in the first book.

Day is still recovering from the gun shot wound he got in Mexico on his mission with Knight. Knight wants to forget about Mexico, everything including his feelings and his failed relationship with Day. The problem is a piece of art that went missing in WWII means that Scorpion, the agency the guys work for, bring the guys together again. The Russians are desperate to get their hands on the artwork. To stop a delicate international relations situation from exploding Day and Knight need to find the art work. Knight is the big tough guy with all the skills he got from this marine training, he also possesses some of the brains of the operation. While Day is a great deal of the brains and the intel of the operation. Their abilities compliment each other. Their professional life together fits together as well as their personal life. Regardless of how well they fit though, with two argumentative men it makes their professional relationship just as rocky as their personal.

This is a fun, Cold War kind of espionage story line. In fact, I have to say that I enjoyed this second installment a bit more than I enjoyed the first book. Day and Knight are two very complex characters and their character development tends to raise tensions between them rather than ease them. These guys are fighters and so it’s so easy to believe that once they get their acts together, that they really do belong to each other. Just like in the first book, the narration was totally top notch reflected the tone, emotion and suspense necessary to pull of this story.