So Into You by S.E. Harmon ~ Audio Review

S.E. Harmon - So Into You Audio Cover 4gb48Title: So Into You

Series: The PI Guys 02

Author: S.E. Harmon

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 11 hrs, 1 min

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd August 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: Screenwriter Noah Ashley has a few four-letter words for his agent when she suggests he im-prove his script by shadowing a PI. Still, because he’s an artist dedicated to his craft and she knows where the bodies are buried, he agrees. Then he spends a little time with the gorgeous PI, and suddenly it seems like a really good plan. The PI doesn’t seem to entirely love the idea, but Noah has never been afraid to go after what he wants.

PI Drew Rodriguez is used to people depending on him. He’s the classic rock for his family. Re-sponsible. Dependable. The classic rock would never succumb to the borderline sleazy tempta-tion of friends with benefits, no matter how sexy that temptation is. Drew is looking for some-thing enduring.

Despite Drew’s misgivings, it’s not long before they’ve got all the requisites for friends with benefits going. Friendly, good conversation? Check. Fun times in and out of bed? Check. Hot, electrolyte-sapping sex? Double check. Falling in love? Yeah. About that…

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

Review: So Into You is the second book in SE Harmons series, The PI Guys. Since I’ve never read or heard the audio of the first book (and I couldn’t tell from my Audible App that this was book 2 of the series), I can say quite honestly that this can be read/listened to as a standalone book, or at least done out of order. Listening to the book and hearing about the couple that are the stars of book 1, I am intrigued and totally keen about getting the first book. I didn’t really know what to expect, as SE Harmon is an author that I’ve heard of but I’m not 100% sure if I’ve read anything by them.

The story starts out with Hollywood script writer, Noah Ashley, just as his personal life goes off the rails, endangering his professional life. Noah is a bisexual man whose ex-wife is still not only his friend but also his manager. He’s just found out his ex-boyfriend Marshall – well, now ex – who he penned a movie script to help further his career as an actor, has slept with another man to further his career. On top of that, the third movie in the popular action franchise may well be re-cast with another actor, Sean Fox who has more talent and unashamed when it comes to his sexual activities. After a proper bender on the booze, a one-night stand and a missed meeting for the new movie, he’s sent out of state, to Florida to get his shit together and get his script resembling a hit movie. While in Florida, his agent has set up a contract for him to shadow a PI, to help him get his script in shape. Noah also has a heap of baggage, after spending his life in the foster system, he found his biological mother a few years before. She is now a schoolteacher with tween twin girls, to almost step kids and a fiancé. She also happens to live in Florida and is the reason why Noah had brought a place in Florida.

That PI is Drew Rodriguez. He’s quite comfortable in his professional life. After being in the military he and his friend started a PI business, and despite being surly and snarky, he does love his job. He just holds people to a certain standard and many so easily disappoint him. On the personal front he’s not as lucky. His father, who has been in and out of jail for most of his life, swans back in and just like every other time his father gets out of jail, Drew tries to hold his family together. Because the painful truth is that every time the man leaves or goes to jail again, it is Drew keeping his mother and little brother going.

#As I said, these guys are complicated. They both have a lot of trust issues and their circumstances have affected them very differently. Drew craves love and romance and finding the one man for him, while Noah wants nothing to hold him down, he just wants friendship and fun sex.
The book was narrated by Michael Stellman. Like with Harmon, the name rings a bell but I can’t, from the top of my head name a book I’ve listened to the audio for narrated by Stellman, so I went into this not know what to expect from either the author or the narrator. The narration was performed well, though. I felt that Stellman had the right tone to convey the complicated feelings and baggage of both MCs. I liked the softer tones which he used for Noah, while a slightly harsher tone was used for Drew. It fit the characters so well and helped me connect to the characters, particularly to Drew.

These characters have great chemistry. They are basically two sides of the same coin, so similar and yet so different. Their romance is a rocky one, even if both guys can be persistent. I very much got emotionally invested in both characters’ journeys. I enjoyed how this played out, this wasn’t an insta-love or a romance where the wary parties change their mind in a minute and go headlong into commitment.

I recommend this one for people that like a little bit of Hollywood, a little bit of celebrity, as well as a some fun and action with a PI/cop-type character. I really liked how both characters were jaded in their own way and added to the relatability of both guys.

Secrets of You by Skylar M Cates ~ Audio Review

Title: Secrets of You

Series: Sunshine and Happiness 04

Author: Skylar M Cates

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 7 hrs, 36 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (8th March 2018)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It’s not something he will consider…until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Secrets of You is the fourth book in Skylar M Cate’s Sunshine and Happiness series. While I think it would probably be best to read the series in order, as there are many overarching stories characters that are present throughout all the books, it isn’t exactly vital to do so as all vital information from previous books is retold for the reader with adequate detail. In fact, I will be the first to admit that despite loving the books I have simply forgotten to get around to reading the first book.

The narration for the by Michael Stellman was truly wonderful. Stellman is a new narrator to me and I was really pleased that I enjoyed every minute of his narration, even through some of the most angst-ridden scenes (I’m not a fan of major angst).

For anyone that has read or heard the audio from any of the previous three books in the series, like me, was probably looking forward to this story. River Darcourt has been present from the start and was front and center for a while in book two, where his dead lover’s long-lost brother came onto the scene. He had popped up again when he had quietly saved a young man from a beating and attempted rape, Morgan Hayes. River has been a very quiet but prominent character who withdrew from the world after the death of his lover, Brandon, a lover who had insisted that they keep their relationship secret. Brandon was just another lot of scars on River’s already damaged soul.

Now we had finally come to the book that gave River his chance for healing and redemption. This book is also the chance for Morgan to heal too, even though his new friends warn him that River is the wrong type of man for him. However, with their housemates sailing off on a cruise to celebrate a wedding, River and Morgan have the house to themselves as neither of them could stay on board the ship beyond the wedding day celebrations. What happens is a whirl wind of exploration of their lives, present and future, and discovering what they need to do in order to make it together for a HEA.

If you like bad boy type stories that involves healing and redemption with the help of a very sweet and truly wonderful heart, this is the book for you.

Unquiet by Melanie Hansen ~ Audiobook

Title: Unquiet

Series: Resilient Love 03

Author: Melanie Hansen

Narrator: Michael Stellman

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 10 hrs 32 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (13th September 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at 17, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own that he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But, as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.

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

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Unquiet is the third book in Melanie Hansen’s series Resilient Love and this book certainly lives up to the title. I’ve been one to do trigger warnings in my reviews but I feel that I need to for this as there is one character who suffers from a severe mental illness, to the point of attempting suicide. This book left me raw and I think I cried throughout the entire 10-odd hours that the book went for. Michael Stellman, a new narrator for me, was just perfect, hitting the right tone and emotion.

This is the story of Eliot and Loren.

Loren is a cop who we met in the previous book as the best friend as one of our heroes (FYI he is Kai Daniels’s best friend), but it’s ok to read this one as a standalone book. Loren knew that he would be a cop when he was a kid, it was family thing for him but it is a job that he loves. There was really only one thing that was left a loose end for him and that was the sudden loss of his best friend, Eliot Devlin when they were in high school. Eliot was always different but until the suicide attempt he had never known that his best friend had had all the signs of bipolar disorder, even as a kid. As kids their relationship was very sweet because they were each other’s everything until one day Eliot tried to kill himself and then Eliot and his family suddenly moved away without Loren ever knowing what happened to Eliot.

Ok, I’m seriously starting to cry just writing about this book. This left such a mark on me, it’s one of those books that just stays with you for days and weeks after you finish. With that said, I’m going to keep the rest of this review short.

Fast forward to the present day and Loren took up an opportunity that could mean a promotion to detective for him. By chance he encounters Eliot after so many years. Loren immediately tracks down his best friend, even after finding out the horrifying and sad truth of his illness. At first Loren understands on the surface but he really needed to experience more of Eliot’s illness to fully comprehend what life would be. Eliot is used to being alone but as soon as Loren comes back into his life it was like a switch was flipped and their old friendship is something of an anchor to him despite his issues. However, Eliot’s issues are not minor and can just be glossed over to a quick HEA and I think that is what I loved about this story. I am glad, too, that Hansen’s didn’t fall into the trap that Eliot would suddenly be better just because he found love with Loren.

Sometimes I wanted to kick Loren because he didn’t see what that sometimes his behavior did negative things to Eliot’s state of mind. But I knew that this was on the bumpy road to Loren understanding Eliot and maybe, just maybe there would be a chance of a future together.