Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker ~ Audiobook

Title: Tall, Dark and Deported

Series:  Dreamspun Desires 31

Author: Bru Baker

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 30 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works – except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I’ve not read or listen to much by Bru Baker in the past, although I did actually read this book when it came out, I was more than happy to go back and listen to the audio. The title of the book, Tall, Dark and Deported, gives you most of the information that you need to know about the type of story you’re about to read or listen to.

What you see is definitely what you get with the blurb. We got one hot South American (sorry, can’t think of his country of origin from the top of my head), Mateus. He’s done something rather silly and used the internet to get answers about how to “reset” his visa. He wants to stay with his brother and sister in law longer now that they are setting up their own orchard and his sister in law is about to have a baby. He’s excited about being an uncle and wants to be there. That why, at the airport, he meets Crawfard. Crawford is a businessman and after meeting Mateus, he is willing to help the guy, which of course means marriage!

Despite being a predictable plot, this is totally enjoyable as way as to just lose yourself. As I said in the opening sentence, you will need to suspend your disbelief but that don’t let that deter you from the sweet romance (well, insta-love romance) that unfolds between the two men.

I’ve been hearing a number of audios narrated by Dorian Bane recently and I have to say that I am beginning really like his narration. He has a very warm sounding voice which makes listening to books a pleasure – in some cases enjoying the audio more than when I actually read the book. I will admit that there was probably a smidge of this happening for this book as well.

My only thing is that sometimes the accent Bane uses for Europeans characters (in this case Portugese) tends to sound more Russian sometimes (or for a few moments every so often he reminds me of the Count from Sesame Street). I don’t think it makes the narration terrible, but it just disrupts my concentration for a few moments every so often.

Two Cowboys and A Baby by B.A. Tortuga ~ Audiobook

Title: Two Cowboys and a Baby

Series: Dreamspun Desires 30

Author: B.A. Tortuga

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 5 hrs, 51 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: A little bundle of joy means big changes.

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do – he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: For me, BA Tortuga has always been an author I can take or leave. I don’t dislike any of her books, really, but more the writing style sometimes leaves me feeling a bit nonplussed. But still I keep on going back because the type of stories Tortuga writes are what I like. I know, I’m a person of many contradictions and whatnot.

Now see, here’s a funny thing. I read and reviewed this book and gave it a 3.5/5… then I forgot about my opinion and listened to the audio and rated it a 5/5. For some reason I just loved listening to the audio, whereas I merely enjoyed reading the book. No idea why, but that’s how it goes. I’m fairly sure that a good part of the reason was because of the narration by Dorian Bane – I loved the voice he gave the cowboys and made me feel a new level of emotion which I don’t remember from when I simply read the book myself. The actual idea of the story and the whole “cowboys looking after a baby and finally reveal their feelings for each other” plot device – absolutely perfect. I also loved the touch of soap opera type of drama introduced when it comes to said baby’s paternity.

The story is about Hoss (ok, as it had done when I read the book, the nick name Hoss seriously rubbed me the wrong way again) and his best friend since childhood, Bradley. They are both cowboys and have been secretly in love with each other years. One day, Hoss finds a baby randomly left on his door step and through some convoluted reasoning, he ends up looking after the baby girl with the help of his friend. The story works in two parts, 1) Hoss and Bradley getting together, where one is out and the other is in the closet still, and, 2) looking after the baby and the mystery of where she came from.

There was a twist at the end that came from nowhere, it’s a bit unbelievable, so people that like things to be more relatable may need to enter with an open mind. Seriously, when I say this is something you would see on Days of Our Lives /Neighbours/Coronation Street, believe it.

First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony ~ Audiobook

Title: First Comes Marriage

Series: Dreamspun Desires 02

Author: Shira Anthony

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 Hours and 20 Minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (February 9, 2016)

Narrator: John Solo

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Lisa

Blurb: When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Review: John Solo has become one of my favorite narrators and I was so glad to have to gotten to hear him tell this story. The way he can give each character a distinctive voice is what makes it even better. I love the way he paces everything and makes the book more enjoyable.

The way that these two meet was quite delicious. Chris is a novelist who has a chance at giving some great stories. He just needs to be given a chance. He is writing on the side as he works as a barista in New York, which let’s just say it, it is one expensive place to be. He knew there was someone in the crowd from the publishing company but he had not expected Jesse.

Jesse is a billionaire who had just lost his father. His father had this quirky idea to see Jesse happy so one of the clauses in his will was for Jesse to marry. Find one that he loves and makes a happy marriage. However Jesse just chooses Chris and decides that is fine. He just had not expected to slowly start falling in love. Now he just needs to convince Chris. The problem is Chris doesn’t want marriage.

Shira has given a completely new look at being Cinderella that is for sure. I enjoyed this story and look forward to seeing what other stories she has out there. She gave us a very believable story with a touch of magic in it. I loved the little twist that was included and I hate to say it I absolutely loved the stepmother. The secrets could have been done different but other than that it rocked. I loved it and would definitely recommend it.

Hidden Gem by Lissa Kasey ~ Audiobook

Title: Hidden Gem

Series: Hidden Gem 01

Author: Lissa Kasey

Genre: Science Fiction

Narrator: Adam McLaughlin

Length: 9 hrs 36 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (16th December 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi – a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion – a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.

Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. As head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.

Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: An alternative reality, where society has gone through World War II and the US is divided into North and South, with scientists experimenting on human DNA to create clones, and super soldiers, concentration camps, and many societal horrors are the backdrop for an unusual romance. 

Each character is fascinating in a way only sci-fi can make them. Aki feels safe in his home, The Hidden Gem, working as a high end prostitute/companion. Sure beats living on the streets, starving, abused and rejected without much of a glimmer in his memory of his true past. Not only does he now live a plush, protected life, as a companion Aki is limited to oral sex and hand jobs because he can’t touch or be touched without a barrier due to his sci ability. But that’s also something he desperately craves, the companionable touch of a lover, Shane in particular. 

There are so many characters, and each one piques my curiosity, especially Paris, but I think that’s a whole new book. Candy is one of my favorites, because each MC needs a bestie. The different characters including the owners of the Hidden Gem, and the investigators, and people from Aki’s past all have so much more to mine…lots of back story and so much possibility. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the support characters. 

On top of Aki’s drive to control his mutant abilities, he has to confront and understand his past, so that he no longer needs to live in fear of the future….one he hopes can involve a certain strong, sexy Irish detective. 

The narration is really good, sometimes the distinctions feel over the top, but it makes each character very clear and I love that. The sexual content is hot, right up until…..well. I’ll save that surprise. I can’t really tell a lot more about this book without dropping so many spoilers.

If you love a little mystery, action, and science fiction with your MM romance, you’ll love Hidden Gem! 

Power Bottom? by Rowan McAllister ~ Audiobook

Title: Power Bottom?

Author: Rowan McAllister

Genre: Contemporary

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Length: 7 hrs 38 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (17th April 2017)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Can a pickup line from a stranger completely change the way an ordinary man sees himself?

Adrian wouldn’t have thought so, but after an ugly breakup where his self-esteem took a serious beating, he’s willing to try just about anything to repair the damage…even return to a secluded bar in rural Maryland and the intriguing stranger whose words have been on his mind since they met.

Biker, bouncer, bartender, and tattoo artist, Wyatt is a rolling stone. After 15 years, he is tired of a life on the run, but he isn’t sure he knows how to do anything else or if he has anything besides a physical relationship to offer.

What’s supposed to be a one-off turns into another and another, and the relationship looks promising until the mob and the FBI come knocking on Adrian’s door.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: A fun ride, a terrible ex, and a man searching for what went wrong. I love that Adrian was willing to take a chance after his whiny ex trampled all over him! A fun read, full of steamy scenes, action and even a bit of mystery. Fun twists and turns throughout! 

At first I thought Power Bottom was going to be about kink, but really it’s about soul searching with a bit of comedy and adventure thrown in to the  steamy scenes. This story has so much going on you don’t expect the curves and plot twists until they hit and throw you! 

Adrian and Wyatt have great chemistry, and their story develops in quirky and interesting ways. I really enjoyed the action scenes, and when you get to it you’ll understand, but the dog lover in me was shouting at my speakers when I thought tragedy struck out one of my favorite furry characters. The somewhat predictable mystery and action combine to keep this story moving swiftly, not a moment of down time which I like. 

The narration is great, keeps you on your toes, very distinct character voices, and the steamy scenes are very well done. 

A great entertaining read! 

A Matchless Man by Ariel Tachna ~ Audiobook

Title: A Matchless Man

Series: Dreamspun Desires 19

Author: Ariel Tachna

Genre: Contemporary

Narrator: John Solo

Length: 5 hrs 22 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (6th October 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts

Blurb: Lexington Lovers – None of the matches caught his eye as much as the matchmaker himself.

Growing up poorer than poor didn’t leave Navashen Bhattathiri many options for life outside of school. All of his concentration was on keeping his scholarships. Sixteen years later, he’s fulfilled his dream and become a doctor. Now he’s returning home to Lexington and is ready to prove himself to the world. In doing so, he reconnects with Brent Carpenter – high school classmate, real estate agent, all-around great guy, and closet matchmaker.

Brent makes it his mission to help Navashen develop a social life and meet available, interesting men. Unfortunately Navashen’s schedule is unpredictable, and few of those available, interesting men value his dedication like Brent does. Brent’s unfailing friendship and support convince Navashen he’s the one, but can he capture Brent’s heart when the matchmaker is focused on finding Navashen another man?

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: Slow and sweet! Filled with moments that stress how very important family, career and friendship is. A Matchless Man takes a nice slow stroll with Navashen through the transition from wrapping up a long medical education to relocating back home to the family and community of his youth to settle into his career, rejoin his family, help his brother bloom, and hopefully start lasting relationship of his own.

There is a lengthy bit about what it’s like to buy a house, and the whole real estate bit gets long even though Navi has his eye on Brent, his realtor, long-time friend, match-maker and crush. Maybe I’m alone in this, but there is nothing sexy about moving and finding a house, it’s actually very stressful, but Brent makes the move as smooth as possible. 

There is a significant amount of time spent on family, what it’s like to be the son of immigrant parents, and what it’s like to raise and live with a brother with disabilities. IT’s very heart-warming and sweet, a kind, mellow read.

A long slow burn from realtor, to friend, to matchmaker and finally can romance blossom here???? If a spark does unite can it last? You’ll have to listen and find out!

The narrator does a good job making the story flow smoothly, though he makes Brent sound a lot like a slick salesman…it’s odd. 

Suddenly Yours by Jacob Z. Flores ~ Audiobook

Jacob Z. Flores - Suddenly Yours Cover AudioTitle: Suddenly Yours

Series:  Dreamspun Desires 20 / One Fine Day 02

Author: Jacob Z Flores

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 33 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (7 Dec 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

Cody Hayes is having one epic morning after. The hangover following a Vegas bachelor party is nothing new to him, and neither is the naked man in his bed.

His apparent marriage is a different story.

Carefully plotting every detail of his life carried Julian Canales to a Senate seat as an openly gay man. A drunken night of Truth or Dare isn’t like him…and neither is marrying a man he just met. He’d get an annulment, but the media has gotten wind of his hasty nuptials. If Julian’s political career is going to survive, he has to stay married to a man who’s his opposite in every way.

Now he must convince Cody that all they need to do is survive a conservative political rival, a heartbroken ex, their painful pasts…and an attraction neither man can fight.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I’ve not read or heard a lot of Jacob Z Flores, but what I have checked out of his work I have enjoyed immensely and Suddenly Yours is no exception. Of course this audio book is made a lot more awesome for me because of John Solo’s narration. Seriously, the dude knows how to nail every emotion of basically every type of character imaginable. 

Suddenly Yours is the second in Flores’ series One Fine Day. The first book, Undercover Boyfriend, was a great story as well and an enjoyable audio but has no connection to the story in Suddenly Yours. Completely different characters, completely different setting, completely different feel.

Cody Hayes has saved up for his best friend’s wedding in Vegas. It was his one big splurge. He works his butt off as a waiter while he struggles to write his first novel. He has visions of writing a best seller. After a big night at his friend’s bachelor party, he wakes up to a big surprise – the cute and almost unapproachable guy his friends had dared him to pick up is now his husband!

Julian Canales has carefully and meticulously plotted out every detail of his life since entering college. Everything was done to get him to where he was today – as a senator. He may be out as a gay man but he never, ever planned to marry a guy, let alone have a drunken Vegas wedding.

Their first thought had been to get an annulment and get it over with ASAP. However, the media found out and Julian and Cody become headline news.

Julian’s spin team – and Julian – know that there is only one thing to do. Make the marriage look real, for at least a year or something so not to damage Julian’s reputation. For the guys, when they had been drunk it had all made sense at the time. They wanted the same things out of life when it came to love. Or at least they thought they did and what was meant to be an easy arrangement becomes a difficult journey, especially for Cody.

I loved, loved, loved every moment of this possibly farfetched, high drama but very sweet story!

Poppy's Secret by Andrew Grey ~ Audiobook

Andrew Grey - Poppy's Secret Cover AudioTitle: Poppy’s Secret

Series:  Dreamspun Desires 28

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 11 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (24 March 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: A second chance born of love.

Pat Corrigan and Edgerton “Edge” Winters were ready to start a family – or so Pat thought. At the last minute, Edge got cold feet and fled. Pat didn’t bother telling him the conception had already gone through and little Emma was on her way. He didn’t want a relationship based on obligation. He’d rather raise his daughter on his own.

Nine years later, Emma and her Poppy are doing fine. Edge isn’t. He realizes what he threw away by leaving, and he’s back to turn his life around and reclaim his family. It’ll take a lot to prove to Pat that he’s a new man, and even if Edge succeeds, the secret Pat has hidden for years might shatter their dreams all over again.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I absolutely adore Poppy’s Secret. It is part of Dreamspun Desires, which are contemporary stories with sweet romances and hot but flawed heroes. It is safe to say that I devour each and every addition to the series, regardless of the author. For me Andrew Grey is always a go to on my list of authors I must read. He has a way with emotion and getting the reader (or at least me) to connect to his characters’ emotions with his magical use of words. Add to the audio with narration by John Solo and I’m set because this is an audio artist who can nail the voice and emotion of the characters in the story.

I have to admit, as much as I love Poppy’s Secret, I figured out the titular secret in no time at all. However, that did not take away from me loving the story and crying for probably half of the book. Because ultimately this story is about mistakes, second chances and true love. *sigh*.

This is a wonderful story of everlasting love, strength and reunion. Andrew Grey fans will not be disappointed, this one reminds me in part of some of the installments from his Senses series, which I adore. I also love how Andrew Grey weaves in themes of love and family – often with a child character who is being raised by a strong single father until the love interest enters the picture.

As for the story itself, it’s quite predictable in the way that you can just see exactly what is going to happen or at least figure out the facts/secrets between the two MCs. It’s the how and the why of the story which makes this book a ride worth taking. Nine years ago Pat and Edge had been head over heels in love and planning for a surrogate to start a family. But Edge got cold feet and left their small town home for Boston and never looked back. Yet in the present, he is back in Harrisburg and one thing on his list is definitely trying to make up for the mistake he had made when he had left Pat. Edge has a lot of groveling in his future, trying to make his way into Pat’s, and Pat’s daughter Emma’s life.

Murmuration by T.J. Klune ~ Audiobook

T.J. Klune - Murmuration Cover AudioTitle: Murmuration

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Kirt Graves

Genre: Historical, Mystery

Length: 12 hrs, 11 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (16th January 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

The people here know certain things as fact:

Amorea is the best little town there is.

The only good commie is a dead commie.

The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.

And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.

Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.

But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.

Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: It’s no secret. I absolutely love and will devour each and every TJ Klune book. Whether that book is in written or audio form, I will love it either way. He makes me laugh and he makes me cry, sometimes at the same time. I tell you, the man is evil, because his writing touches the soul speaks to every fiber of my being. Sounds a bit melodramatic, right? I know but seriously, I am having problems conjuring the words to describe why I love his writing and the stories he weaves with the most wonderful characters. However, Murmuration is a bit different in that despite having some light hearted moments it was more intense and full of mystery than anything else.

I heard Murmuration off the back of listening to TJ’s book Wolfsong. Both audios have the same narrator – Kirt Graves – who absolutely get the characters and the emotions on point.

Right I’m trying to keep this short because I think every time I write a TJ Klune review I go on and on and just gush about how much I love his writing and the book in question. I don’t want to give too much away either, so I really need to keep it brief.

This is a slow burn story between Mike and Sean in the very familiar theme of friends becoming lovers. In Murmuration we’re going back to 1950s small town America, an idyllic time for kids playing out on the road, people keeping their doors unlocked and generally tight communities where everyone knows each other and takes care of one another. I felt a bit of trepidation, though, because of the historical setting and what this could mean for a gay relationship. However, as you read and get hooked on the plot, it had me wondering if you can call it a historical as indicated by the blurb. It certainly gave us a setting and a starting point but there is so much more going on than the time/year that the book is set in. There is definitely a sense of mystery as odd things occur in the quiet small town.

Klune weaves together a complex story with many layers and I’m convinced he does it just to fuck with our minds. Because seriously that ending, was not expecting, seriously massive mind fuck. I can’t even say what book it immediately made me think of because for fans of Klune [and have followed his blog and Facebook] you will probably know what book I’m talking about! It’s one of those endings that have stuck with me and makes me keep on thinking. But ultimately I am happy because it was a HEA.

If you’re looking for a pure romance, I’m not sure what to say about it. It is a very romantic and very sweet story woven in between the darkness and intrigue of the surrounding world. This about a guy trying to find himself in a world that seems dark and scary, but it is the romance that gives us the sense of hope and light.

Close To You by Skylar M. Cates ~ Audiobook

Skylar M. Cates - Close to You Cover AudioTitle: Close to You

Series:  Sunshine and Happiness 03

Author: Skylar M Cates

Narrator: Tristan James

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 10 hrs, 12 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (8 Dec 2016)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: It’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Close to You is the third book in Skylar M Cates’ series, Sunshine and Happiness. You don’t necessarily have to read or heard the two previous books to get this, I honestly haven’t read the first book, but I enjoyed the audio of the second book immensely. In fact, it was some of what had happened and shown about the characters of the third book that made me want to get my hands (or ears) into this story. The series is set around a group of guys living in a shared house and are still dealing with the fallout of the death of one of their best friends.

Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have both lived difficult lives. They have been friends for years, since high school. There has been the potential for more between them for years, since day one in fact. But Marc is damaged after a childhood of abuse and neglect and Tomas, who was damaged from losing his father as a child, is devoted to the little family he has left. Marc is certain that he is not capable of love, getting his only real feelings from being Tomas’s friend and from his passion of cooking. Back in book 2, something that is explained to us anyway, Marc made a deal with a friend that he would go to a therapist as a sort of buddy system for the friend. Between the therapy, Tomas moving away to be with his mother and grandparents, and an approaching hurricane, Marc begins to learn that maybe he isn’t quite so damaged any more. And maybe he has a chance to actually know what love is like and reciprocate the love from his best friend.

I loved the story, I loved the angst and I loved the narration. I think the only criticism that I have is the pacing. I didn’t really get into the flashbacks. For me they were too disruptive to what was happening in the here and now. However, in saying that, I generally don’t like excessive flashbacks and for me this was excessive, almost every second chapter was a flashback. I know that Mark and Tomas’s relationship/friendship as kids was vital to the story but I just wasn’t into the flashbacks.

Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me by Anna Martin ~ Audiobook

Anna Martin - Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me Cover AudioTitle: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me

Author: Anna Martin

Genre: Contemporary, Coming Out

Narrator: Jesse Cota

Length: 6 hrs 17 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (26th January 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.

As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At 17, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next 10 years.

When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: Our lives take unseen and unpredictable turns, and the people in our lives often cross paths at different intersections, sometimes walk the path with us for great lengths before trotting off on their own journey. This lovable story is a lot about that, how important people in our lives come and go, all the while making an impact present or not. It’s about best friends, growing up together, first attraction, first loves, self-questioning… all of those deep and common experiences. 

Evan and Scott have an interesting and endearing dynamic as friends and eventually as a couple, but I appreciated that other people were allowed to come into their lives throughout the story, it was realistic in that sense, and helped the overall theme resonate with me.

The passionate scenes were steamy yet realistic, beautiful descriptors and romantic settings. The narration was good, not as diverse as I like for different characters but Jesse Cota’s voice suits the youthful journey these characters take from childhood to young adulthood and he reads well. 

Anna Martin’s writing is always fluid and crafted expertly. A heart-warming story of a life journey from school yard pals to lifetime lovers, you’ll enjoy Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, a great warm and endearing read. 

There's This Guy by Rhys Ford ~ Audiobook

Rhys Ford - There's This Guy Cover AudioTitle: There’s This Guy

Author: Rhys Ford

Genre: Contemporary

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Length: 7 hrs 30 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (10th April 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued art deco building on WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the sweet, artistic man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK  

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: This heart-string tugging story starts out with the cold, hard violence I’ve come to expect form a Rhys Ford story, and let’s face it, I like the gritty, painful crime she writes…because she tempers it with such strong passion and love! The opening is gut wrenching and makes me cringe even now…. Fair warning, this story contains subjects of physical and emotional abuse, and suicide. 

Each character was interesting, however I feel like I’ve been dropped into the middle of a series. There are strong dynamics and a ton of history between Dallas and Celeste, and I feel like I need that back story first. I want to know how Dallas got to this point in life. How is he independently wealthy? Why is he opening this club, what exactly is Bombshells & Babes? There was a segment that went into his past relationship and why it’s so important when considering Dallas and Jake’s future….but again, it feels like I’m missing an entire novel. It’s like Star Wars…I think there may be a prequel soon. 

While the story is passionate, and the topic bone chilling and dark, the layering of descriptive words can get a bit overwhelming. The love scenes, before Dallas and Jake get to full penetration, the brief touches, the kisses, the chemistry as they build is great! It was hard for me to figure out how all the elements of the story were tied together. There’s not a lot of mystery here, more of a story about one overly optimistic ray of sunshine helping a beaten down, abused, disturbed creative genius find reason to keep on ticking. Love and hate, tenderness and violence; there’s not a lot of in between here. 

If you enjoy those things, like I do, you’ll enjoy this story. Tremblay’s narration brings this story to life. I don’t think I’d enjoy this book as much just reading the text. Greg brings softness, passion, and drama, blunts some of the rough edges and heats up the passionate scenes. 

See Me by K.C. Wells ~ Audiobook

62bsx5bq0x56gbyzgTitle: See Me

Series:  Lightning Tales, Volume 3

Author: K.C. Wells

Genre: Contemporary

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Length: 5 hrs 11 min

Publisher: K.C. Wells (31st May 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Narration: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Adrian DeSoto spent most of his time in high school being bullied and beaten up, simply because he was perceived as gay. Always slight, effeminate, he was the perfect victim for guys like Martin Cavanaugh, one of the high school jocks. When it all got too much, Adrian was faced with two options, one more devastating than the other. Eleventh grade saw a new Adrian, one who hid his fears and pain behind a mask in a bid to survive.

Eleven years later, and Adrienne is one of the top drag acts in Orlando. She’s fierce, funny, and exuberant. A face from the past gives her a shock, and after that there’s only one thing on her mind – revenge.

Marty Cavanaugh has a particular kink. He loves it when a drag queen goes down on him. But that’s as far as it goes. He won’t admit to himself what’s under that tight fitting dress. And then he meets Adrienne and his whole world goes into a tailspin…

Warning – Contains men in drag, honey! You have been warned.

Product Link: https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/See-Me-Audiobook/B071ZJG6GV

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: Following Adrian and Ric from high school to adulthood, seeing how their paths intersected when a small kindness made a huge difference in their lives. I enjoyed this aspect of the story very much. This ties nicely in with the two previous books in the series.

Once Marty is introduced we get a picture of not just a closeted man, but someone in denial with a true fear of accepting who he is. When Marty and Adrian realize who they are to each other it gets wild, emotional, and challenging for both parties. Adrian finds out just how easy it is to take the low road when you’re hurt by someone, how easy it is to hurt back and how badly it made him feel. 

It was fun and fascinating to read the story through “Adrienne’s” view as she puts on her makeup takes the stage, and how her persona changes as she transitions back to Adrian. 

Joel Leslie did a fabulous job of narration. His different voices for each character, even those for Adrian/Adrienne were unique and smooth. 

When Ric and Marty to finally reconcile and come together its hot and it’s passionate. Great read, heart-warming, funny at times, heart-breaking at others. Great series!

The Playmaker by Andrew Grey ~ Audiobook

Andrew Grey - The Playmaker Cover AudioTitle: The Playmaker

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: John Solo

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 6 hrs, 11 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (23 Jan 2017)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Professional football player Hunter Davis is learning that saying he’s gay is very different from actively being in a relationship with another man – especially in the eyes of his teammates and fans. So when Hunter needs a personal assistant to keep him organized, he asks for a woman in order to prevent tongues from wagging.

Montgomery Willis badly needs to find work before he loses everything. There’s just one position at the agency where he applies, but the problem is, he’s not a woman. And he knows nothing about football. Still, Hunter gives him a chance, but only because Monty’s desperate.

Monty soon proves his worth by saving Hunter’s bacon on an important promotional shoot, and Hunter realizes he might have someone special working for him – in more ways than one. Monty’s feelings come to the surface during an outing in the park when Hunter decides to teach Monty a bit about the game, and pictures surface of them in some questionable positions. Hunter is reminded that knowing he’s gay and seeing evidence in the papers are two very different things for the other players, and he might have to choose between two loves: football and Monty.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I absolutely adore Andrew Grey’s books. No matter the subject manner he makes interesting characters that are easy to relate to – he can make me laugh and cry in the same book. Seriously, this dude knows how to get me right in the feels. And if there is anything better than that, it is probably listening to John Solo narrate the audio book for an Andrew Grey story. John Solo is probably my favorite narrators because he just nails the emotion and tension of pretty much any character.

Enough gushing… onto the actual story.

Hunter Davis is a pro footballer – and openly gay at the peak of his career. With that comes a massive ego and a guy who would lose his head if it weren’t attached to his body. His agent has had it with Hunter’s inability to be on time or to behave and therefore forced a personal assistant to keep him in line. And because Hunter is something of a man-whore even Hunter insists if he is to have an assistant then it has to be a woman – he really couldn’t afford a scandal that could screw up his reputation.

This is where Monty comes in. Monty is a quiet, organized type of guy – he is just what Hunter needs, besides the fact he is a man. But Monty is desperate for a job and manages to get an interview after speaking to a frustrated recruiting agency and Hunter’s actual manager. Monty may be instantly attracted to Hunter, being the hot, fit footballer that he is. However, Hunter is a bit of ass and is annoyed that Monty has no clue about football or who Hunter even is.

With the scene set, the sparks flying and a steady pace I love listening to every moment of this book. Definitely a win for Andrew Grey.

Wolfsong by T.J. Klune ~ Audiobook

T.J. Klune - Wolfsong Cover AudioTitle: Wolfsong

Series:  Wolfsong 01

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Kirt Graves

Genre: Paranormal

Length: 18 hrs, 40 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (5th October 2016)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Ox was 12 when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was 16 when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was 17 when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet.

Ox was 23 when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his blood red eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I think it’s safe to say that I adore anything by TJ Klune in any shape or form – or rather in any format. I love paranormal-shifter books and so when TJ Klune wrote this one, it was a must have. I mean, really, my two favorite things. What could go wrong? Reading TJ’s books is always a thrill and he is always guaranteed to make me laugh like a loon and then pull a “Wookie cry face” as I struggle to hold myself together and cry on public transport. Each and every TJ Klune book has a whole lot of a heart and Wolfsong is no exception.

With Wolfsong I originally read the epub version when it was first released. When I got the opportunity to hear the audio, I forgot basically the entire book except for knowing there was the usual TJ Klune wit, making me laugh and cry.

The story opens when we meet Ox at the age of 12. He is so sweet and once I fell in love with 12 year old Ox, I knew that I would love him as he got older. With an abusive alcoholic for a father, Ox doesn’t have an easy life but he just keeps on going, even after being abandoned at the age of 12. Ox struggles with his self esteem. Ox remains a quiet person but one day walking home from work he meets a very talkative and very energetic kid (his complete opposite), named Joe. But Joe has his own issues and Joe’s family welcomes Ox with open arms after helping Joe. As years pass Joe grows up and Ox remains to have a low self esteem. Also as the years pass we see Joe and Ox’s life and relationship become something that is nothing short of amazing. And Joe… Joe is just simply perfect for Ox.

Wolfsong was also my first experience Kirt Graves narrating and he is totally wonderful. When TJ said that the guy nailed the audition, he also nailed the book absolutely perfectly. He provided a brilliant voice to our main characters and just gave me all sorts of feels.

This is one beautiful, heartfelt ride into the lives of a wolf shape-shifter pack. There is so much packed into this. We got a guy who has been abused and trying to make a life for himself – and manages to surround himself with wonderful people in the process introducing love and family into his life. Ox is just so damn sweet and lovable that I wanted to wrap him up in a blanket and cuddle him close. The sequel is out in 2018 and I can’t wait!