Ante Up by Kim Fielding ~ Audio Review

Title: Ante Up

Series: Dreamspun Beyond 06

Author: Kim Fielding

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Genre: Paranormal, Vampires

Length: 5 hrs, 52 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (21st January 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖 3 Hearts

Blurb: Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield – and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I’m going to be upfront and admit that this book gave me some mixed feelings. I really do enjoy Kim Fieldings’ writing and many of her previous works. I particularly enjoy her contemporary works. In fact, one thing that I do like about this one is that it is quite an original story and I found it enjoyable for the most part.

However, for me the pace of the story was a little too choppy. I found myself a little disappointed that it took 4 chapters for the two MCs to meet, let alone end up in bed, and a few more chapters after that before their stories merged. Within this time, we also had to hear about the vampire MC’s one night stands where he would feed. The last few chapters, on the other hand, were good – well paced, full of action and I was now much more certain in the chemistry and emotion between the two MCs.

Yet, I did love the narration by Andrew McFerrin – in fact, I think that was kept me going when I found my attention wandering from the plot line. I liked the voice and tone that he provided to all the various supernatural characters, including our MCs.

The is about vampire Ante Novak (pronounced Ahn-tay), who was human until he died two hundred years prior on a bloody Croatian battlefield. He found himself in Las Vegas where he subsists on sex and blood from random hook ups, often stealing money from the men. Unlike vampires in many stories, he has no money. He grew up as a human peasant, working his family’s land and just never cared enough to get ahead or settle down somewhere permanently. Las Vegas is run by the vampire mob, called the Shadows, of which he knows the leader. Ante doesn’t has always refused to work for them but he knows he is on borrowed time where they are concerned.

Between all this, Ante meets Peter Gerhardti, who appears to be very human but that is called into question from the outset. Ante is instantly attracted to the man who sates him in more ways than one. When the Shadows set their eyes on Peter, Ante finds a reason to fight for the first time since he was killed in battle. The mad dash the two men make is what I find to be the best part of the book.

The Supers by Sean Michael ~ Audio Review

Title: The Supers

Series: Dreamspun Beyond 06 / The Supers 01

Author: Sean Michael

Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Genre: Paranormal

Length: 6 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd March 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Blurb: Hunting ghosts and finding more than they bargained for.

Blaine Franks is a member of the paranormal research group the Supernatural Explorers. When the group loses their techie to a cross-country move, newly graduated Flynn Huntington gets the job.

Flynn fits in with the guys right off the bat, but when it comes to him and Blaine, it’s more than just getting along.

Things heat up between Blaine and Flynn as they explore their first haunted building, an abandoned hospital, together. Their relationship isn’t all that progresses, though, and soon it seems that an odd bite on Blaine’s neck has become much more.

Hitchhiking ghosts, a tragic love story forgotten by time, and the mystery of room 204 round out a romance where the things that go bump in the night are real.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I don’t think I have a concrete impression of author Sean Michael. I love the writing style, but it all comes down to the plot line itself and substance of the story as to if I finish and enjoy a book. In general, I find his books enjoyable, but I can’t say that I love every one of them.

The Supers is about a group of ghost busters, looking to make their big break. It’s a pretty cool concept that was executed great in both writing and in Kenneth Obi’s narration. In fact, Obi is becoming of one my favorite MM narrators lately. I like his tone and the subtle nuances Obi brings, particularly to a MM paranormal book which doesn’t have a set “alpha”. The characters are ordinary guys and as such Obi gives these guys the right voice and tone. In short, everything just works.

The book follows Blaine loves being a part of the group. Hard times on the family farm means that he had to put on hold his plans of moving away to help his parents. His parents are overly impressed by his second job, but they don’t make a fuss. It is basically Blaine’s unwinding time. He just happens to chase after ghosts and trying to capture them on audio or camera. After losing their usual tech person who monitors cameras, recordings, etc. their group manager hires Flynn, who is a newly graduated sound technician. Flynn fits in, as the blurb says, but he especially hits it off with Blaine.

These guys are very sweet and great chemistry together. An underlying story, as hinted in the blurb about the mystery of room 204, really adds to their budding relationship. In my opinion, the mystery of room 204 is THE highlight of this story.

This book is great for anyone who loves watching those ghost hunter type of shows. I love the underlying story which emerges at the end; it really added a certain spice that was both sad and perfect. Like when I read the book, I’m super excited to find out what the rest of the series has in store.

The Wolf’s Man Friday by Julia Talbot ~ Audio Review

Title: The Wolf’s Man Friday

Series: Nose to Tail Inc. 02

Author: Julia Talbot

Narrator: Joseph Morgan

Genre: Paranormal, Action, Suspense

Length: 9 hrs, 15 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (13th August 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: The last thing Sebastian Zeller wants is to be pack Alpha. But when the pack leader, his uncle Ron, is attacked, he has no choice but to leave his beloved Colorado mountains and fulfill his duty as Ron’s heir – at least until his uncle recovers. In the meantime, he intends to lure the attacker out…and make them pay.

When Ron gets wind of Sebastian’s plan to catch the attacker, he doesn’t like the idea of risking his heir. That’s where Jaxon Reedis comes in – he’ll balance protecting the dark and sexy werewolf with pretending to be his personal assistant. He’s walking a fine line that requires all his foxy wit and craftiness…and that’s on top of the inescapable feeling that he and Sebastian are meant for each other. When the attacker returns, will they be able to maintain their deepening bond when danger threatens to tear down everything they’re building?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: The Wolf’s Man Friday is book 2 in Julia Talbot’s Nose to Tail Inc. series. If you’re like me and haven’t read book 1, it is fine to dive right into book 2 without any problems whatsoever. Although, honestly, after listening to this book and reading the blurb of book 1 I really do want to get my hands on it as soon as I can. The book is super fun, with a good dash of action.

The MCs of this books is Sebastian Zellar and Jaxon Reedis. Sebastian is an artist at heart and run’s his uncle’s textile company. However, his uncle Ron, who basically raised Sebastian from a young age, was attacked and two of his men were killed. Of course, Sebastian can’t let this go and he wants to find out who’s responsible. Knowing this about his nephew, Ron hires protection for Sebastian, not wanting his beloved nephew to get himself killed.

That’s where Jaxon comes in. Jaxon works for Nose and Tails Inc., a staffing agency. Jaxon’s boss knows that he is the best man to keep an Seb for Ron. Jaxon also explains that he was trained as a butler and so working as a PA is an easy role to ease into. Jaxon has to work hard to keep an eye on Seb. And when circumstances bring them closer, tension is added when the guys give into their sexual desires but don’t accept their mating bond straight away.

Both MCs are charismatic and totally charming – even if Sebastian is a grumpy wolf! I particularly liked Jaxon, he’s a bouncy, agile fox who has been hired by Sebastian’s father to be Sebastian’s bodyguard while masquerading as his PA. I also enjoyed the secondary characters as well, particularly Sebastian’s friends, Allan, his partner in crime, and Tyrone, an elk shifter who has known Seb and Allan for years and is now Seb’s driver. The overall plot was good except that I felt it a little slow in some places, but nothing that didn’t bother me too much. This is a great adventure – many fans of shape shifter books will find this one a satisfying read.

Kairos by Marly Calmes ~ Audio Review

Title: Kairos

Series: Marshalls World Stand Alone

Author: Mary Calmes

Genre: Contemporary, Drama

Length: 5 hrs 10 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (16th March 2018)

Narrator: Michael Fell

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now, they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for….

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

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: A familiar light hearted drama with some corrupted cop suspense in the mix. Kade and Joe area familiar characters to any fan of Mary Calmes, and if you enjoy the Marshalls or Matter of Time series you’ll enjoy this read too. Joe is your typical fix it man, and Kade is the big dominant bad boy and together their strengths and weaknesses complement each other and make them a great couple. This biggest question in the plot is will they make it past those weaknesses to see that what they really need is right in front of their eyes.

This friends to lovers romance starts off with a bang, lots of corruption, a bit of violence, protecting witnesses and multiple investigations and then takes a detour when Joe and Kade need to get out of town fast. This detour forces Joe to confront what he has been running from, his family and what he has been longing to run into, Kade’s arms. Lots of familiar scenarios if you’re a Mary fan, and I am. This is a fun, fast paced, feel good read. I always like insta-mommies anyhow!

Michael Tell does a wonderful job reading the story smoothly, adding unique characterizations, and timing pauses and dramatic scenes perfectly.

Camp H.O.W.L by Bru Baker ~ Audio Review

Title: Camp H.O.W.L 01

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

Author: Bru Baker

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifter

Length: 6 hrs, 55 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (12th January 2018)

Heat Level: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Heart Rating: Moderate

Blurb: Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….

When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty”, he assumed he was, somehow, human.

But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack – scared, alone, and eight years late.

Dr. Tate Lewis’ werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man – or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian, too.

A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Camp H.O.W.L is the first book in a series by Bru Baker going by the same name. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t 100% sold by the blurb – I was concerned that this was going to be a fluffy story with not a lot of substance. The one thing that I did look forward to was Dorian Bane’s narration. I really love Bane’s narration and I believe that his husky, deep voice is perfect for alpha shifters. He also has a gift of adding the appropriate level of emotion through the tone of his voice and in this book it really helped me to relate to both MCs.

However, all my worries regarding the book were for nothing. I was immediately pulled into an interesting world of werewolves who struggle with their second puberty where they finally shift into their wolf counterpart on the full moon near their 19th birthday.

Adrian Rothschild is 27, his mother is one of the most powerful wolf alphas in the US and for reasons that were not found out for by shifter doctors he never experienced the Turn at 19. He has since resigned himself to be a human among a pack of wolves. A pack that, despite his family’s position, he doesn’t feel like he belongs to fully. Therefore, he’s happy to be away from his family to work. The problem is, when he takes a holiday far away from his pack and home, Adrian suddenly starts to get the symptoms of the change. Thinking it’s just the flu, Adrian pushes himself until he’s in trouble.

Adrian meets Dr Tate Lewis, a man he feels an inexplicable pull towards. Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L, a sort of hidden camp/school where wolf families send their teens about to make the turn to go through their first change. He’s one of the camp councilors because he doesn’t want other wolflings to go through what he had gone through as the son of an alpha with some perverse beliefs.

When Adrian and Tate meet, it’s assumed that the connection they have is one called a Turn Mate. Turns out that wasn’t quite right, though, because they are moonmates, which is basically a term for soul mate or mate as seen in other paranormal stories. Tate has a lot of baggage from his formative years and therefore is not ready to accept the bond with Adrian.

I will admit, I got a little annoyed at Tate and that was because his angst and brooding was hurting Adrian. I absolutely adored Adrian. I reckon that’s a pretty good indicator of a book. Any fans of shape shifter stories will like this one. Just because this is set in a camp doesn’t mean that there is anything childish about the book. There is not outrageous alpha behavior, a lot of sweetness, a broody psychologist (I think that’s what Tate is?), some excellent chemistry and just a lot of fun.

Olive Juice by T.J. Klune ~ Audio Review

You Must Give This Book A Listen!

Title: Olive Juice

Author: TJ Klune

Genre: Contemporary, Drama

Length: 5 hrs 11 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (30th August 2017)

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: It begins with a message that David cannot ignore: I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

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

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: You will be in awe of the Klune’s ability to capture and communicate the human condition.

This is not your traditional romance, and if you’re looking for erotica, look elsewhere. There are sexual scenes described of a highly intimate and loving nature, but that is not what this book is about. This book is about the struggles and devastation that a loving relationship comes crashing up against. Olive Juice is about pain, loss, and love. You will be moved, you will maybe cry, you will be in awe and you will stand and applaud. Don’t read spoilers, don’t ask for a bigger explanation, just dive right in. I wish I could write more but I want each reader to walk into this masterpiece blind.

The narration is perfect and powerful, Derrick McClain impresses me so much I find myself browsing his project list and grabbing books just because he’s narrated them.  

Stalking Buffalo Bill by j. leigh bailey ~ Audio Review

Title: Stalking Buffalo Bill

Series: Shifter U 01 / Dreamspun Beyond 03

Author: J. Leigh Bailey

Narrator: Finn Sterling

Genre: Paranormal

Length: 5 hrs, 31 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (4th December 2017)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William – don’t call me Bill – is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker – er, hunter – and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Stalking Buffalo Bill is the first book in J Leigh Bailey’s series for Dreamspun Beyond, Shifter U. J Leigh Bailey isn’t an author that isn’t really on my radar, but the blurb caught me. I didn’t know what to expect but I was hopeful. Turns out, it’s a pretty damn good read and the audio was actually quite relaxing to listen to.

Finn Sterling, the narrator, is not unknown to me either, but I feel like its been a while since I heard his narration and I couldn’t remember what he was like. Sterling too was excellent. I liked the voices that he gave the two characters and amongst the action gave the tone something that I can only describe as amusing hijinks.

The story is about cheeky coyote shifter Donnie. He’s hyperactive and pretty like Tigger (I know I’ve made this comparison before for another book, but I love this cute hyper shifters). Donnie is made to feel like he has no direction from his family, since he decided not to work with the rest of his family and go to college … but Donnie dropped out of college and has shifted from job to job until he finds himself settled as a barista in a café near the college. There is one customer that has him intrigued and I suspect it’s Donnie’s coyote that leads him literally chase down (er… stalk) the hot customer who has become quite the mystery.

Donnie’s target is William, a buffalo shifter. He’s recently had a bit of a career change and is using his qualifications to be a professor at the college called Shifter U by all the shapeshifters. It’s one of the only colleges with a large, but secret, population of shifters living nearby and attending the uni. However, William has trouble on his tail who don’t want him to forget his former career. At the same time, the cute barista that he is definitely attracted to is dead set on “protecting” William and is getting under William’s skin in more ways than one. In the end, it’s William that has to protect the funny little coyote.

Overall, this was a completely enjoyable story and the audio was equally as enjoyable. I liked the chemistry between the guys and I like how the sex didn’t over take from the action and danger at the most inappropriate times (my pet hate for romance books). The plot was well balanced between the danger and the romance and was very well paced. I’m very much looking forward to the next books in this series.

Beneath This Mask by Victoria Sue ~ Audio Review

Title: Beneath This Mask

Series: Enhanced World 03

Author: Victoria Sue

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Length: 7 hours 45 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (26th June 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Gael Peterson has spent years hiding behind the enhanced abilities he wears like a mask, even though he is an important, confident member of the FBI’s exclusive H.E.R.O. team. The hurt and betrayal of his mom’s abandonment and his father’s fists are secrets buried deep beneath the ugly scars on his face, and he doesn’t trust Jake, his new, regular human partner, with any of them. In a world where those with special abilities like Gael’s are regarded as freaks and monsters, it won’t be easy for him to rely on Jake to have his back, especially when the abilities of a vulnerable, nonspeaking, enhanced child make that child a murder suspect.

Tempers rise, and loyalties are challenged, and when the serial killer targeting the enhanced finally sets his sights on Gael, not only will Gael have to trust Jake with his secrets, he might have to trust him to save his life.

ISBN: B075TJJ34V

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

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: Oh my god! I totally lurve the great big strong damaged hero with a super soft heart and the need to be dominated. I now think Gael is my favorite Enhanced World character. Scarred, damaged, big tough man on the outside…..I just want to hug him and squeeze him and make him my own. But alas, we need a good match for Jake. Jake, the ever patient. Victoria has shown us her softer side, her lovey dovey underbelly, and then she throws us into the mire with a serial killer!

As for the love scenes, oh yeah, that big tough guy goes down hard and begs for it, Jake is ready to give him everything he needs. Yeah…let me get some ice water…..

Once again, good mystery, lots of action, a bit of gory goodness, and lots of tears and melty hearts.

I knew it…figured it out in the first few minutes….but the web was well spun anyhow. I enjoyed figuring out how all the pieces fit together for the unsub. I also enjoyed the super ooey-gooey lovable ending to Gael and Jake’s story. I may need to see the dentist now.

I love this entire series, and I am always impressed with Nick J Russ’s narration…..the man has mad skills!

Never Let You Go by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Title: Never Let You Go

Series: Forever Yours 02

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 8 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (6th February 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Blurb: Friends since they met in school, Ashton and Brighton soon become much more. Ash and his aunt are Brighton’s haven away from his mess of a family, and when Ash enlists in the army, Brighton learns to endure his long absences and eagerly awaits his return from missions.

Until one day, Ash doesn’t come back, and Brighton thinks his greatest fear has come true.

Months pass, and Brighton grieves for Ash, not knowing that a terrible misunderstanding sent Ash running, unable to cope when he thought Brighton had betrayed him. Even after an emotional reunion, their relationship isn’t the same – Brighton is now responsible for his young niece, and he’s having a hard time rediscovering the trust he once had in Ash. Ash must still tend to his mental health, but before he can, he’ll have to deal with a past secret that puts all their lives at risk. With so many forces determined to tear them apart, can Brighton and Ash hold on to each other and never let go?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Never Let You Go by Andrew Grey is a totally heartwarming, sweet and even heartbreaking story about love and healing. It is the sequel to Can’t Live Without You. However, the books can be read as standalone with only a brief appearance from the MCs of book 1. In my opinion everything Andrew Grey does is good, if not complete gold and this is no exception.

Brighton and Ashton have been friends since they were kids, when the orphaned Ashton moved to town to live with his aunt. Ashton joined the military and somehow the guys made a life together until the time that Ash went missing on a mission and everyone was told he was dead. But Ashton did make it back and a misunderstanding that Ash didn’t bother to find out more about kept him away from Brighton until fate stepped in.

While Ash was piecing his life back together and coping on his own with PTSD after his ordeal, Brighton was dealing not only with the loss of the man he loves, but also with the loss of his sister and becoming a dad to his niece. He is understandably hurt when he sees Ash in town again. But these guys have learnt from Ashton’s mistake and while they grew up together, they have even more growing to do before they can bring their lives together once more.

I can’t remember how much I’ve heard of Jeff Gelder’s narration, but I’m sure I have in the past. Regardless, he gave a good voice to both the MCs, as well as Brighton’s niece and even Brighton’s aunt. His voice gave off a well-rounded audio that I absolutely adored. Fans of Andrew Grey will love this one, as usual as well as those that are fans of friends to lovers and broken but perfectly flawed MCs.

Who We Truly Are by Victoria Sue ~ Audio Review

Title: Who We Truly Are

Series: Enhanced World 02

Author: Victoria Sue

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Length: 7 hours 45 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd February 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Talon’s deadly abilities are spiraling out of control. Desperate to keep Finn safe, Talon struggles to protect the man he loves with all his heart and not become the greatest risk to Finn’s life.

Finn has no choice but to offer himself as bait for the evil forces kidnapping enhanced children, facing danger he is untrained and unprepared for, and he will have to do it alone.

Does Talon have one last fight in him? Will he slay everyone who wants to destroy Finn and the team, or will he finally discover that to defeat their enemy and the ultimate threat, the biggest battle he has to face is one with himself?

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

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: We now have a tighter team with the H.E.R.O’s of the Enhanced World. But as Finn fights to carry his own weight with the team, Talon fights against his own fears and constantly jumps in to protect him. You can imagine where this puts strain on a newly formed relationship.

What I enjoyed about this book the most was seeing Finn develop stronger friendships with other team members. The author gives us a broader picture of not just Talon but Vance, Gael, Sawyer and others.

There’s a mystery, action, detective work, missing kids, and plenty of tension both sexual and emotional between Finn and Talon again. We learn more about different team member’s enhanced abilities and that Talon’s is changing, and he’s uncertain about his own control over it. When the story comes to it’s climax we’ll find out if Talon is truly as strong as Finn believes him to be. Talon will have to learn to give all his trust to the love of his life, his very life depends on it.

Victoria Sue also does sexy-times with flair and plenty of passion. I’m never disappointed, though I could always beg for more.

Nick Russo’s narration is smooth, varied voices for each character, and has great emotional attributes throughout. Did I mention I REALLY like his vocal characterization of Talon. Mmmm-mmmm, good!

If you enjoy the X-Men/Thirds kind of world building you’ll love Five Minutes Longer and the entire Enhanced World series by Victoria Sue! Hold on tight, you’re in for a ride and an all-nighter!

Tender Mercies by Eli Easton ~ Audio Review

Title: Tender Mercies

Series: Men of Lancaster County 02

Author: Eli Easton

Narrator: Will Tulin

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 8 hrs, 28 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (26th January 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the 25-acre property in Lancaster County – and all the hopes he held for it – before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money – and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Tender Mercies is the second book in Eli Easton’s Men of Lancaster County series. You don’t need to have read the first book to understand and there is only a brief meet up with the MCs of the first book, so if you’re like me and didn’t read the first book you’re good to go regardless.

Eli Easton is one of my favorite authors on the Dreamspinner Press call sheet. She writes wonderfully sweet romances that I just get lost in. However, for me, something fell short in this story. The plot left me feeling a little “meh” – I’ll get to specifics in a second. The narration by Wil Tulin, a first time I’ve heard this narrator, was also mediocre, but I’m partly convinced that it is the book rather than the voice.

Tender Mercies is the story of Eddie Garber and Samuel Miller. Eddie is a thirty-year-old, soft-hearted man with a lot of lofty ideas. Just the fact that he brought a farm for rescued farm animals with basically no idea of how he was going make it work. He needs help and places an ad in a paper for a farmhand. Who he gets is 19-year-old Samuel Miller – Samuel’s story is heart breaking. He’s an Amish man who was beaten and whipped by his father before being shunned by his community. He has happy day dreams to escape his horrid reality where there was an Amish community that would openly accept gay men and all same sex couples to adopt orphans. At first Eddie sees Samuel as someone he must save after finding out just how bad things are for Samuel and things just go from there.

One truly funny moment is where Eddie must explain to Samuel, in a way Samuel can understand, that Eddie is a vegan and doesn’t even want Samuel to milk the rescue cow. It’s very endearing for Samuel’s character, but really did not help me to connect with Eddie. And that, is the main issue I had with this book.

Eddie was an impossible character for me. I really had to suspend my disbelief for this one as soon as I started. The fact Eddie went over half a million dollars into debt with the mortgage on the farm with no plan of how he was going to run a rescue as well as manage to keep on earning money was hard to believe. Eddie does admit that he is all heart and no practicality, well not so specifically, but it didn’t really help me. From there I was never able to really connect with the guy.

Fans of Eli Easton will at least enjoy this audio. In fact, looking at other reviews I feel that my opinion is in the minority. People that have read other books featuring Amish characters (such as Andrew Grey’s Love Means… No Shame, and Love Means… No Fear) will probably enjoy this too. However, once more, my opinion is that Eddie’s character is not as strong as those in similar books.

Five Minutes Longer by Victoria Sue ~ Audio Review

Hold on tight, you’re in for a ride and an all-nighter!

Title: Five Minutes Longer

Series: Enhanced World 01

Author: Victoria Sue

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Length: 7 hours 36 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (25th September 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate – Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.

Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.

Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.

Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives—four weeks for them to survive.

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

Reviewer: Gigi

Review: I really wanted to hate Talon. The team got on my nerves and I felt the anxiety Finn carried on his shoulders as he charged bravely into the unknown world of this new enforcement agency, mixing the worlds of the enhanced and regular humans like himself. These tensions are exactly what Victoria Sue wants to build up in us while we read and listen to her beautifully spun story. When those tensions do finally burst, flames erupt, physically and metaphorically. Action packed, all emotions, and sizzling hot sexual encounters build this loose knit team of talented if frustrating hooligans into a functional team of heroes with strong bonds.

Nick Russo’s narration is great. I really like the voice he has for Talon..mmmmmm, so fine! Narration is smooth, varied, and has great emotional attributes throughout.

If you enjoy the X-Men/Thirds kind of world building you’ll love Five Minutes Longer and the entire Enhanced World series by Victoria Sue! Hold on tight, you’re in for a ride and an all-nighter!

Finding Mr Wright by B.A. Tortuga ~ Audio Review

Title: Finding Mr Wright

Series: Dreamspun Desires / Leaning N Ranch 02

Author: BA Tortuga

Narrator: Robbie Nelson

Genre: Contemporary/ Cowboys

Length: 5 hrs, 7 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Everything’s bigger in Texas, including weddings. And misunderstandings.

Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a 200-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for LGBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?
Oops.

Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.

Can he?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Finding Mr Wright is the second book in BA Tortuga’s series, Leaning N Ranch. It is not entirely necessary to have read or heard the audio of book 1 (Commitment Ranch), but I’ll admit that I went and tracked it down after finishing this audio. Before Dreamspun Desires, I had a little knowledge of BA Tortuga’s books, but within Dreamspun Desire’s found that I enjoy and look forward to reading Tortuga’s work, especially if there are cowboys involved!

Noah Wright is the titular Mr Wright. He’s a Texan oil tycoon, but he is not some old crusty, bombastic guy. He is a loving brother, family man on top of being a brilliant businessman. He is the contact for the wedding that is to take place at the Leaning N Ranch in Colorado. I’m not going to go into any detail because what happens within the first couple chapters is pivotal to the rest of the plot and how Noah interacts with his love interest for the book, the wedding planner Mason O’Reilly. And I’m not going to spoil the whole thing.

The narration of this audio was done by Robbie Nelson. This is the first time I’ve heard Nelson’s narration, but I did like what I heard. He had the right tone, and accent, to ensure that I was engrossed by the story. I have to say that it took me a bit to get on board with the accents used on some of the Colorado native minor characters on the ranch. However, on the whole I was happy and most importantly the characters were just wonderful in his voice.

Once Upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford ~ Audio Review

A refreshingly new, tender-hearted slow burn from Rhys Ford!

Title: Once Upon A Wolf

Series: Wayward Wolves 01

Author: Rhys Ford

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Paranormal

Length: 3 hrs and 49 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (16th May 2018)

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother, stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water, then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges, but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

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

Review: A new series with a new feel by Rhys Ford. I must say I’m really proud of this author for flexing her creative muscle and diversifying her writing style. Too often authors get stuck into a cookie cutter format, due to pressure and demands of their readers. If you’re used to Rhys’ in your face, shock and awe, often crazy violent and bloody, hot and sexy reads, this one will surprise you. Once Upon A Wolf is still packed with action, but of a different kind. The opening chase between a dark wolf and Zach, the conflicts between Gibson, Ellis Zach and an enraged officer, all add drama that we expect from Rhys. But the slow build, the sweetness and the flow of the characters discovering each other is unique to this first novella of her new series. This book is a slow sweet burn, leaving me want for more…. I think it’s a good thing! Though I might have wanted a teenie weenie bit more ravaging, these guys were more patient that I was!

The narrator Derrick McClain, was perfect and refreshingly new also, good variance on the different characters’ voices, good tempo, no complaints at all. I’ll have to look for more narration by Derrick for sure!

The sexual encounters take a while to arrive, which I find refreshing, and are passionate, creating soul deep connections between the characters.

Refreshing, new, another side of Rhys Ford’s writing prowess. I recommend Once Upon A Wolf if you’re in need of some adventurous, loving, slow discovery romance. A tender balm to the chaos of our times.

Teaching Ben by Shea Connor ~ Audio Review

Title: Teaching Ben

Series: Dreamspun Desires 52

Author: Shea Connor

Narrator: Kenneth Obi

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 40 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (10th April 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Learning to love means a study in patience.

Fresh out of the military, Ben Cooper is ready for a new start. He’s away from his domineering father, making his own choices… and out of the closet. On his first day of college, he meets David Powell, who’s just the kind of gorgeous man Ben’s dreamed of. Too bad he’s the teaching assistant—which makes him off-limits in Ben’s eyes.

David is Ben’s age, but his life has taken a different path. He’s close with his family, who helped him deal with personal struggles after he came out. And while he’s staying away from any hint of scandal, Ben’s a kind of temptation he hasn’t faced in years. If only they’d met on more equal footing. As the semester progresses and their lives become more entwined, keeping their relationship platonic becomes more difficult. They just have to hold out until the end of the semester….

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Teaching Ben is a cutesy story… it’s best way to describe this sugary sweet romance between two college students in their mid-twenties. This is very much what I expect from the author, Shea Connor, and I was quite please with this addition to the Dreamspun Desires line. The narration for this audio was by Kenneth Obi, a new narrator for me but recently I’ve heard a few audios narrated by Obi. Overall, I find that I am now always happy to hear Obi’s narration. He nails the characters and the tone for the most part and I like his ability to all primary and secondary characters a unique voice.

Teaching Ben is the story of Ben Cooper and his college tutor David Powell. Ben is twenty-four and recently out of the air force. After growing up with a controlling father who was also in the military which led into his career in the navy. Now he can have a life for himself and for Ben that is going to college and studying communications and documentary making. On his first days in one of his introductory subjects he feels an instant spark of attraction to third year student and his tutor for the class, David Powell.

David is also twenty-four. He’s got a past as a member of a rich family and growing up getting everything he wanted. A life altering situation some years ago meant that David had learnt his lesson and had since been working hard to finish college. Meeting Ben, David can’t deny the attraction, however David also knows that he start a relationship with a student he was teaching for the semester.

This is a sweet, well-paced book with very little angst. These are just ordinary guys living life, meeting their challenges head on, going to college and that ultimately is what makes this charming.

Finding Mr Wrong by Charlie Cochet ~ Audio Review

Title: Finding Mr Wrong

Series: Dreamspun Desires 41

Author: Charlie Cochet

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 46 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd December 2017)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.
Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.
Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: For me, Charlie Cochet is an author I’ve heard of but I’ve never really taken a lot of notice of. So I went into this audio without any expectations except that I really do love the type of plotlines in this book. One awesome thing for me was having the privilege of listening to Andrew McFerrin, it feels like ages since I’ve heard a book narrated by him and I was not disappointed.

The story is about Matthew Hart. He run’s his father’s successful business, a bespoke furniture and décor business called Hart and Home. He’s a workaholic and happy in his life despite his cousin, Bryce, and Bryce’s wife Ariana being entitled thorns in his side. After a near death experience, Matthew enlists the help of his good friend and assistant, Adam to help him find a perfect husband. Which brings into an incredible chain of events, bringing the one person who had shattered Matthew’s heart twenty years earlier when they had been teenagers.

Jax Foster had also fallen in love with Matthew when they were teenagers after saving Matthew from the school bullies. Jax has had a hard life, mostly because of his father whose unchecked PTSD has led to a lot of debt. Jax is amazed to see Matthew again but he struggles to believe that he will ever be enough for the suave, rich Matthew. They are dynamite together but Jax and Matthew must deal with a lot more baggage than it seems possible for a man to have.

Matthew and Jax are perfect together. I love their chemistry. Their lives couldn’t be so much more different, but their individual experiences make them remarkable that I was so happy to see their HEA. The entire plot line relies of miscommunication of one form or another. The secrets that separated them when they were first falling in love as teenagers, to the forces surrounding them that wanted to separate them now that they were together once more. Also, I must admit I got a little impatient towards the end, but only because the identity of the villain was never concealed throughout the book.

McFerrin gave the two MCs and the troublesome cousin, Bryce, great voices and I feel that he nailed the tone and emotion brilliantly. I’m not a fan of miscommunication story arcs but he really gave the miscommunications great voice and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Fangs and Catnip by Julia Talbot ~ Audio Review

Title: Fangs and Catnip

Series: Dreamspun Beyond 09 / Dead and Breakfast 01

Author: Julia Talbot

Narrator: Dorian Bane

Genre: Paranormal, Vampires

Length: 6 hrs, 41 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (14th March 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: A romance worth fighting for – tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences – for their bodies and their hearts.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Fangs and Catnip is the first book in Julia Talbot’s Dead and Breakfast series and is a part of Dreamspun Beyond house line. For me, I have enjoyed Julia Talbot books in the past, but she is one of those authors that I don’t have any real opinion on other than they are usually a good read.

However, I did look forward to the narration by Dorian Bane. I’ve not heard his voice on an audio in quite a while and he was one of the first narrators I heard narration MM shape shifter stories (I think for some Siren books). At any rate, I really enjoyed hearing Bane’s distinctive voice – deep and husky and just perfect for many alpha type males. Although this story didn’t have any actual alpha type males – just a brooding vampire and cougar shifter who reminded me of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. I liked the two voice he gave the MCs of this book and it was generally very enjoyable.

This plot of Fangs and Catnip is totally cute and charming. There is no real big drama or obstacles – this is a shifter and vampire who have to get their shit together.

Fallon Underwood is a vampire who is basically a hermit. He is a few centuries old and prefers his solitude. He resides in the attic at the paranormal bed and breakfast destination, The Death and Breakfast, where is the silent partner in the business with the sleepy, grumpy bear shifter, Tanner, located on the top of an isolated, snowy mountain. Tanner does a lot of the work on his own and finally convinces Fallon that he needs to hire a manager so that he can sleep/hibernate a bit more as the winter approaches.

This is where hospitality manager Carter Hughes. He’s the bouncy cougar shifter that is basically Tigger. He comes to the B and B all excited for his new job, looking forward to being involved with a business that caters for all manner or paranormals and humans. When he encounters the enigmatic Fallon he immediately is attracted, and his inner cat knows that Fallon is his mate. The problem is vampires and shifters usually don’t mate in the sense that they form a full blown emotional and mental bond, so there are unexpected results as their different physiologies alter to help the bonding process.

There is low level angst and there is what think is a bit of stuffing around that I think felt more like to fill time/pages more than anything else. I won’t go into super details, but Fallon tries at certain points to push Carter away because he cares for the man too much and like many men in romances doesn’t talk to his partner about his concerns.

That is probably my only criticism of the entire book. The plot is simple and well-paced, which means that there is room for the characters to develop a bit. It also means we get time with the other secondary character who will no doubt get their own romantic story at some point. The guys have great chemistry and the sex scenes are steamy. I can’t wait for November when the second books comes out featuring barely in control, newly turned wolf Tom.

The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey ~ Audio Review

Title: The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed

Series: Dreamspun Desires 46

Author: Felicitas Ivey

Narrator: Simon Ferrar

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hours

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (14th March 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: A billionaire and a Bedouin girl – each with a shocking secret.

Billionaire Fathi al-Murzim is a workaholic businessman, too busy running the family’s companies to even think about marriage. Too bad he never told his grandfather he’s gay, because Grandfather just announced a childhood betrothal – to a Bedouin girl Fathi never heard about before.

Ikraam din Abdel was raised as a woman by his avaricious and abusive older sister, who didn’t want him to be their father’s heir. He’d never thought to be married either, and is surprised when his sister informs him of his betrothal.

When Fathi and Ikraam meet, they are drawn to each other in a manner neither of them expected. As the plans for their wedding progress, they both realize they need to tell the other the truth. But can they, with both cultural taboos and family pressures to deal with?

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I got no idea where to start. I am exhausted, struck down with bronchitis, and as a result I’ve been devouring audio books like it’s nobody’s business. The cheesiness of this story was pretty damn good medicine, although I spent a lot of the book struggling to suspend my disbelief.

Felicitas Ivey is a relatively new author to me. I’ve read one other book by the same author, yet I am struggling to remember details of what I liked or disliked about it. Likewise, Simon Ferrar is a new narrator for me. In fact, my current binge of audios is bringing up a lot of new narrators for me in the Dreamspun Desires imprint – which is just awesome. Over all, I enjoyed the narration by Ferrar but it took me a bit to be sold on the accents used for the character, which seemed to be somewhere between Middle Eastern and Indian.

I didn’t know what to expect when I read the blurb but fond reminiscence of the time before I got into MM romances to when I used to love romances of hot desert Sheikhs and their damsels in distress drew me in. And to be perfectly honest, it was everything that I expected from one of those types of stories. In fact, it was almost as though it started as a hot Sheikh and a young Bedouin woman and somewhere along the line the woman became a man disguised as a girl for his entire life. The latter being what had me troubled throughout the book despite enjoying the listen. Also, there is a whole cultural system that that I don’t have enough understanding of to wonder just how something so outlandish could happen.

The titular Sheikh is gorgeous billionaire Fathi al-Murzim, a relatively guy who adores his twin brother and grandfather, yet at the same time doesn’t have a lot of time for a life outside of work. The reason for being a workaholic is that he had made the choice, after getting his business degree in the US where he was free to be himself, was that Fathi decided his family (his grandfather) were more important than for him to have a chance with another man. That excuse makes it easy for Fathi to stay firmly inside the closet. When his grandfather wants Fathi to honour an old marriage agreement, Fathi agrees and despite his reservations and with the help of his beloved twin, resigns himself to what could be an advantageous marriage.

Fathi’s betrothed is Ikraam din Abdel. Ikraam was raised as a woman, he hadn’t even known he was a boy until he is six or so. Ikraam’s father was the old tribal leader, who had taken Ikraam’s mother as a second wife in his old age. He was the only boy with six other older sisters. I don’t want to go into the entire explanation as to how this happened but suffice to say from a young age he was an orphan at the mercy of his power-hungry older sister who couldn’t lose the leadership of the tribe to a baby. It’s really convoluted but it somehow works.

As I said, I struggled to suspend my disbelief but despite this I really enjoyed it. I think it honestly comes down to that time where I loved reading MF romances with rich Shiekhs and feisty women who didn’t want to be damsels in distress. I don’t like MF anymore for a number of reasons but it was kind of fun to see my this trope translated to an MM story.

Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony ~ Audio Review

Title: Swann’s Revenge

Series: Dreamspun Desires 51

Author: Shira Anthony

Narrator: Peter B Brooke

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 20 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (23rd March 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?

Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten – until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.

Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.

Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is – and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: I approached this audio book with a little trepidation. Actually, make that a lot of trepidation.

I’ve recently had a rather, shall I say, mediocre experience with both author and narrator. Shira Anthony is a relatively new author for me, I’ve now enjoyed two out of three books I’ve reviewed. Likewise, for Peter B Brooke, I can’t remember the number, but I had one not so good experience and a few pleasant ones. And so, I cheated. I started to read the eBook to see how I would go before getting the audio. I am very pleased to say I was quite happy – with both the story and the narration.

Swann’s Revenge is very much an ugly duckling type tale. Graham Swann reinvented himself from the pudgy geek, Jimmy Zebulon, after a horrific time in high school. He had a massive crush on one of the star jocks, Dan Parker. But Dan had always stood and did nothing as Jimmy experienced merciless bullying from Dan’s team mates.

Now fifteen years later, Graham (Jimmy) has come a long way and turned his life around completely. It was so good to see that humiliated and bullied teen become such an awesome guy – sort of an F you to all bullies. He lost the excess weight, looks after himself well, has got a career that he has worked hard for and is insanely successful as the owner of law firm.

Things take a strange turn when Graham hires a new guy, who happens to be his high school crush, Dan Parker. Things have not entirely worked out well for Dan in some ways, an injury ended hopes of becoming a profession sportsman. However, the direct his life and career since took him has been nothing but great for Dan. Meeting his new boss, Dan is enchanted by the handsome man and is ready to do anything to take down his defenses and start something romantic. Dan doesn’t realize at all that Graham Swann is the kid he knew as Jimmy Zebulon – I mean, fifteen years later, he wouldn’t. But Graham has deep running scars from his time in high school and so Dan’s pursuit of the sexy guy is hampered without Dan realizing.

This is a super sweet book with a lot of heart. This is about redemption, getting over the past and finding (or rediscovering) love. That is exactly what I love about this story because the plot could have so easily become a horrible revenge story, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Dan also has a cute kid called Lacey and that was just the icing on the cake. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and light-hearted read.

Ebb and Flow by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Title: Ebb and Flow

Series: Love’s Charter 02

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Greg Tremblay

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hrs, 48 hrs

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (18th October 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4.5 Hearts 

Blurb: To achieve happiness, they’ll have to find the courage to be their own men.

As first mate on a charter fishing boat, Billy Ray meets a lot of people, but not one of them has made him as uncomfortable as Skippy—because he’s drawn to Skippy as surely as the moon pulls the tides, and he’s almost as powerless to resist. Billy Ray has spent his life denying who he is to avoid the wrath of his religious father, and he can’t allow anyone to see through his carefully built façade.

Skippy is only in town on business and will have to return to Boston once he’s through. After all, his father has certain expectations, and him staying in Florida is not one of them. But he doesn’t count on Billy Ray capturing his attention and touching his heart.

Billy Ray doesn’t realize just how much he and Skippy have in common, though. They’re both living to please their fathers instead of following their own dreams—a fact that becomes painfully obvious when they get to know each other and realize how much joy they’ve denied themselves. While they can’t change the past, they can begin a future together and make up for lost time—as long as they’re willing to face the consequences of charting their own course.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Ebb and Flow is the sequel to Andrew Grey’s Setting the Hook, the first two book in Love’s Charter series. Although this story is about a different couple’s courtship I recommend going back to listen to the first book, Setting the Hook, first to get a feel for the world, characters and overarching themes. One of the more fun aspects is that we get to catch up with the lives of William and Mike who we met in Setting the Hook. Those two guys have wonderful chemistry.

That said, Billy Ray (I know, sounds so hillbilly) and Skippy, the MCs of Ebb and Flow, also have wonderful chemistry. There is a lot of uncertainty on both sides and a boat load of emotion, but these guys work together so well, they have hot chemistry and they are just so damn sweet together.
Billy Ray is first mate to Bubba on a fishing charter boat (FYI and totally not a spoiler, Bubba got a promotion at the end of Setting the Hook). Billy Ray is stuck in a bad situation that he cannot help – his father is a small town preacher who is all about fire and brimstone. His father is over bearing, not only to his son but also to the locals (though no idea what the locals feel about that), and Billy Ray is resigned to the fact that no matter how hard he tries he will never meet his father’s lofty expectations.

On a charter, Billy Ray is drawn to Skippy (aka Harcourt Anson III, so snobby!). Skippy is in town from Boston for business, but he wants to make it fun. As a partner of his father’s law firm, his father works him all hours to the point of exhaustion and having zero time an actual life. And so we start, with instant sparks of attraction, the story of two guys unfortunately has to deal with the pressure of trying to please their impossible (and homophobic) fathers.

There is some slow burn and maybe some low key angst as Billy Ray and Skippy wallow in unrequited love. The guys are both worried about what would happen if they even thought of making a life together. Both of them expect retribution from their fathers, they do occur in different circumstances but overall, the story line for Billy Ray and Skippy is the same. Nonetheless, it was a joy to listen to them as they overcame their individual obstacles. I think that shared element both enhanced the story for me.

Greg Tremblay has done a tremendous job narrating both books in this series. His tone had me ensnared from the start. He conveyed the turbulent emotion of these troubled men so damn well.

For lovers of Andrew Grey, this story is another fantastic reason to love the man’s writing. If you started with Setting the Hook, you’re going to love Ebb and Flow. For me listening to the audio has enhanced the whole experience and enjoyment of this series for me.