Dog Days by T.A. Moore ~ Audio Review

Title: Dog Days

Series: Winter Wolf 01

Author: T.A. Moore

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Paranormal, Shape shifters, Post-Apocalypse Future

Length: 7 hrs, 34 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (9th February 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: The world ends not with a bang, but with a downpour. Tornadoes spin through the heart of London, New York cooks in a heat wave that melts tarmac, and Russia freezes under an ever-thickening layer of permafrost. People rally at first—organizing aid drops and evacuating populations—but the weather is only getting worse.

In Durham, mild-mannered academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less impressive, but still useful.

Except the other werewolves don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re coming down over the Wall to mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Jack—the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack—and the prince’s brother, who wants to kill him.
A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood.

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

Review: Dog Days is a paranormal, shape shifter book set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future by TA Moore. Sounds like a mouthful, right?

So, I feel like I’ve had my own Mandela moment (bringing the conspiracy theories, I know probably not cool). I say this because I was absolutely convinced that I’ve read TA Moore before and even had another audio. but no, I haven’t. I see no trace of book, audio or even a review I’ve written for TA Moore. Therefore, I went into this one blind and with mixed feelings. This is because I find post-apocalyptic books hit and miss and my enjoyment very much depends on my mood, especially when it isn’t a rose-tinted end of humanity trope. The very nature of the genre also means that romance usually takes a back seat to the crazy shit happening as the world goes to hell. Fair warning, this is for people that like their dystopian futures and the characters dark, unsafe and gritty where survival instincts reign if you hope to survive the day. If you’re looking for something that is primarily romance, this probably isn’t your thing.

Moore has created an intricate world. The start is kind of like The Day After Tomorrow. When storms take over the world and so many millions die, especially the humans because the conditions are hostile and no amount of technology can prepare the populations for this scale of disaster. Danny Fennick, who lives and teaches in Durham, England, is a weredog and decides to go back to the Scottish Highlands where he had grown up as he prepares to live out the storm. However, being a dog when werewolves want to take over is just as dangerous and deadly to him as the storm that killing so many.

Jack, who happens to be Danny’s ex, is the crown prince of his pack. The biggest problem is that his own brother wants him dead and he has been banished from his pack for being gay. Jack is tough and rough, he has to be to not only survive the oncoming wolf winter, but to also survive being banished in this weather. Jack needs to be prepared to do anything to survive because that is what world requires for him.

This is a complex story where the characters come to life in this dark world, they are extremely well fleshed out making it much easier for me to understand their motivations and harshness of the world that they live in. Danny is the most relatable character, he is like the connection to humanity and he is reader’s bridge to understand Jack’s raw instinctive nature.

Derrick McClain did an awesome job of narrating this story. I love his narration and Dog Days is no exception. In the other audio I have narrated by him my collection is four contemporary romances, one light hearted shape shifter romance and this one. I hadn’t known what to expect, especially from a story that is very much in an English setting, but it was amazing. I really loved how he was able to do distinct voices for characters, especially with accents. He also managed to convey the emotions so well.

Bankers’ Hours by Wade Kelly ~ Audio Review

Title: Bankers’ Hours

Author: Wade Kelly

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 12 hrs, 23 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd November 2017)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.  

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.

Behind the Eight Ball by M.A. Church ~ Audiobook

M.A. Church - Behind the Eight Ball Cover AudioTitle: Behind the Eight Ball

Series:  Fur, Fangs, and Felines 02

Author: MA Church

Narrator:  Derrick McClain

Genre: Paranormal

Length: 8 hrs, 58 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (17th October 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate – a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want – a human, business owner Lawson Dupre.

Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, and then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exist. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: If you’re like me and totally a sucker for anything that involves shifters, then this is the (audio) book for you! We have a shifter who is speciest against humans, a humans who knows about supernaturals (not too much of a spoiler I promise), a clan (Clowder) of cat shifters … and well it’s a tried and true recipe for a good paranormal romance. Derrick McClain’s narration is also wonderful, getting the voice of both MCs on point.

Although this is book 2 of MA Church’s Fur, Fangs, and Felines series, this is the first one that I’ve read. I had no problem picking up on the characters, there is some overlap, as part of the back story explains the events of book 1 enough for anyone to understand.

Heller Wirth is our feline shifter, he shifts into a black house cat with strikingly blue eyes. He’s not a fan of humans and for good reason, though he paints a whole species with the one brush is a little OTT in my book, it does make sense he is wary of people. He didn’t take it well when his best friend mated a human in book 1, but he’s gotten over that for the most part. But one day he discovers his mate is newly moved into town and very human! Lawson Dupre owns a car wash and detail (I was rather tickled by this because my high school job was at a car wash and detail!) business with his two best friends. They’re not exactly human and they can smell when something changes for Lawson, even though Lawson has no idea what is going on with him. There’s a lot of wariness, some silly miscommunication by two people falling in love but overall a good time and very satisfying read.

I won’t gush anymore. But rest assured I NEED to get the rest of the books in this series, especially the next one!

Let The Wrong Light In by Avon Gale ~ Audiobook

Avon Gale - Let The Wrong Light In Cover AudioTitle: Let The Wrong Light In

Author: Avon Gale

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 8hrs, 32 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (25th August 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Avery Hextall, a junior architect at a prestigious firm, is thrilled when his design is chosen for a new performing-arts center – even if it means working closely with his insufferably uptight project manager, Malin Lacroix. When a chance encounter in the boss’s office proves that Lacroix is anything but cold, Avery is determined to learn more about the real man beneath the aloof veneer.

Despite their growing attraction and their increasingly kinky encounters, the enigmatic Malin remains as emotionally distant as ever. Worse, Avery’s friends are convinced Malin thinks of Avery as a dirty secret and nothing more – a secret that might destroy both of their careers.

But the real secret is a single moment in time that haunts Malin and keeps him from committing to the life he wants with Avery. In order to move on, Avery must help Malin come to terms with the tragedy in his past before they can work on building a future together.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Let The Wrong Light In is something that I describe as a very niche type of book. It’s definitely not for everyone’s tastes. I must admit though I didn’t love the book there were a of number things that I did like about. I primarily picked this one because I love a good office romance with a bit of kink thrown in, but I also because I’m a massive fan of Gale’s series Scoring Chances. Derrick McClain’s voice to the audio helps a lot as well, not a narrator I’ve heard often but I like his style.

The book is primarily told from the POV of Avery Hextall, he a junior architect at a prestigious firm with a boss (Malin Lacroix) whose reputation has him labeled as a bit of hardass – and all around just difficult to deal with. The problem for Avery is, not only is he angry that his boss does not take his artistically and environmentally mindful designs seriously, but the man is hot and broody. Part of Avery is also sure that Malin Lacroix could handle some of his darker desires. Some people may find it a bit difficult at first, because this does approach the territory of autoerotic asphyxiation and it’s hard not to be concerned about Avery’s safety as he starts on what could be a very dangerous path in what begins out to be a very toxic relationship. However, if you read past all that, I promise you it is worth it.

In my mind there is one down fall of the story. It is certainly the only reason I’m only give this a 3.5/5. Malin is so unlikable and horrible for a majority of the book. I love how he is in the end but I think the problem for me was that there was a distinct lack of glimpses that Malin could be that man it was difficult to come to terms with once I made it to the end of the book. Malin’s development as a character is pivotal to the entire story and I just felt that there was something lacking. However, this is still enjoyable; especially if you like BDSM with a bit more bite than you would normally get in fiction. 

Planting His Dream by Andrew Grey ~ Audiobook

andrew-grey-planting-his-dream-cover-audioTitle: Planting His Dream

Series:  N/A

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 37 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (12th August 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts

Blurb: Foster dreams of getting away, but after his father’s death, he has to take over the family dairy farm. It soon becomes clear his father hasn’t been doing the best job of running it, so not only does Foster need to take over the day-to-day operations, he also needs to find new ways of bringing in revenue.

Javi has no time to dream. He and his family are migrant workers, and daily survival is a struggle, so they travel to anywhere they can get work. When they arrive in their old van, Foster arranges for Javi to help him on the farm.

To Javi’s surprise, Foster listens to his ideas and actually puts them into action. Over days that turn into weeks, they grow to like and then care for each other, but they come from two very different worlds, and they both have responsibilities to their families that neither can walk away from. Is it possible for them to discover a dream they can share? Perhaps they can plant their own and nurture it together to see it grow, if their different backgrounds don’t separate them forever.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: So, I’m going to have to get to the crux of my issues here without any warning. I need to get this off my mind.

This is a great story. In fact, anyone familiar with Andrew Grey will be happy with read or listen to this one, I think. For those that have enjoyed Grey’s Farm series in the past will not be disappointed, though instead of focusing on Amish we are dealing with the world of migrant workers in a very much seasonal industry. For the audio, I would have rated this one a 4/5 – while I really liked the story, I can’t say that I out of this world love it, despite the fact that I really have no complaints about the story as a whole. However, I had to take a ½ a point off the rating based on the audio – I just wasn’t feeling it.

My biggest problem was that it was difficult to differentiate Javi from Foster in the narration, when Javi is very much obviously a migrant worker with an accent compared to Foster’s all American rural boy persona. I don’t think that it bothers me so much about the handful of other accents that could have been put into the narration, but since Javi is a main character I felt that the distinction for between his character and Foster’s character would have made it a more enjoyable listen. In the past I have enjoyed Derrick McClain’s narration (especially How to be A Normal Person by TJ Klune), but for this one, it just wasn’t my thing.

Ok, that is finally off my chest.

As I said, while I really enjoyed this story, I can’t say that I had a strong love for it or would be tempted to read or listen to it again. Foster has worked on his parents’ farm since he was old enough to do chores. Often his father has migrant workers come in to help harvest the asparagus every year, and when the story opens Foster, feeling the strains of being forced to work on the farm, meets the very handsome Javi. Javi, his parents and younger siblings have been hired to help Foster’s father harvest. Both men may feel something but nothing happens for now. It is only the following year, after Foster’s father dies, that Foster is trying to keep the family farm afloat for his mother and grandmother. He meets Javi again that the two young men can begin to contemplate their feelings.

The story is really about two young men discovering themselves. It is certainly an awakening, for both the characters, and what follows is a beautiful friendship and relationship.

How to be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune ~ Audiobook

T.J. Klune - How to Be A Normal Person CoverTitle: How to be a Normal Person (Unabridged)

Series: N/A

Author: TJ Klune

Narrator: Derrick McClain

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 11 hours, 7 minutes

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (15 April 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Product Link: Audible AU | Audible UK | Audible US

Reviewer: Prime

Review:  I am not going to make it a secret – I absolutely adore TJ Klune, I love how he can make you laugh so hard for the entire length of a book also make you feel feels that give you the “Wookie cry face”. How to be A Normal Person does exactly that! Of course, I have to add that the brilliant narration by Derrick McClain is just spot on and pulls all the right emotions and his tone is so perfect as the voice of main character Gustavo Tiberius.

Ok, yes, I did read this book when it came out but for me the audiobook just elevated the story to an entire other level. Gustavo Tiberius is a bit of a “Grumpy Gus” and has exactly zero social skills despite having the friendship of some rather quirky characters including 3 elderly ladies who are either in a lesbian three-way or are sisters (and the only members of the town’s vespa gang) and Lotte who owns that coffee shop down the street. His one link to the world, his father known to everyone as Pastor Tommy died of cancer a few years ago. He runs his father’s video rental store, which Gustavo only can get by because he happens to also be the land lord to much of the town’s shops – another part of his father’s legacy.

Then one day Casey shows up. Casey is a stoner hipster that makes me think of Shaggy from the Scooby Doo gang and brings to mind the line from Star Wars “…half-witted, scruffy looking nerf-herder” as the perfect description. Casey is the exact opposite of Gustavo – he loves social media, he loves people… he also happens to be a famous author. In many ways, I think that Casey is much like Pastor Tommy (who was also a stoner) and supports the old proverb that you look for a partner with the same personality of your father/mother, depending on your sexuality.

With Casey showing up, Gustavo starts to learn more about himself and his feelings. And that is where the title of the book comes into play: How to be a Normal Person. To be with Casey, Gustavo thinks that he needs to research and go through the steps to be a normal person so that Casey would be attracted to him. It seriously made me want to cry for Gus, but then again that is the message of the book – it’s ok to be yourself, even if you an anti-social realist who doesn’t have the internet or a smart phone, or if you are an asexual stoner hipster who can hastag like nobody’s business.

As a bit of a teaser, while some of Gus’s flash backs to conversations with his father are both sweet and at some points very sad, they were also quite funny. Then there are the “recorded phone calls” with his internet provider – OMG, so funny, I loved the book for those few bits of dialogue alone.

Fans of TJ Klune will not be disappointed, to those that don’t know TJ Klune – you need to get onto it. The well paced and well developed story hits all the emotional highs and lows that all I can say is I recommend this to everyone who loves MM romance!