Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael ~ Audio Review

Sean Michael - Unlikely Hero Audio Cover 85hbmTitle: Unlikely Hero

Author: Sean Michael

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller

Length: 7 hrs, 30 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd March 2018)

Heat Level: Low

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl – and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

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

Review: Unlikely Hero is a really well written story of second chances, the family you make with a rush of danger. Written by Sean Michael, I really looked forward to listening to this audio, mostly because I don’t think I’ve come across a book by Michael that I didn’t at least like. I also love how Michael has a knack for weaving wonderful child characters into stories as well, which is where many of his characters form their own families.

Jeff Gelder did the narration for the audio, which I thought was a perfect choice. I’ve heard Gelder perform a number of different books before, but I think he just really nailed this one. Specifically, I think his voice and tone was flawless for the main character, Eric. He also does a pretty good voice for Eric’s little girl Josie.

Eric and Brock are interesting characters, especially since we get into the story where these guys have a very well developed and described past. They had been together and in love when Eric broke up with Brock ten years earlier and they never lost their love for each other in the intervening years. There is no animosity between them, in fact it’s like that one friend you have where you don’t talk to them for years but you get back in touch and it’s like none of those years or months have passed, you just fall back into the old rhythm. However, in this case it’s more of a case they had Mr Right, they were simply in the right place at the wrong time. More than anything else, though, Eric had feared Brock drifting away because Brock was a rich businessman and Brock a high school teacher.

Time has been kind to them for the most part, Eric has adopted a little three year old called Josie (she is totally adorable) and he is mostly estranged from his family. For Brock while there had been a few men in his bed, he admits that he had hardly changed at all (probably a good plot device so that we can focus on the danger and allow the romance to just happen). I think if I have any real problem with this book, it’s that they were apart for so long before coming back together.

When Eric’s little girl is kidnapped, he cannot think of anyone he can trust more to help him than his ex, the rich and handsome Brock. Brock has never stopped loving Eric and when he finds out what has happened he will do anything to help. It’s not a smooth and clean ending to the ordeal though, and Brock becomes very protective of Eric and Josie. Brock had never wanted a family, another part of the reason why Eric broke up with him, but being in Eric and Josie’s life brings him the discovery that maybe life could really be a compromise of what he and Eric want most and they might just find their HEA.

While it’s not insta-love, there is a definite feel of things just falling into place between the men automatically. For that reason, despite their past, I do wonder if people that don’t like insta-love will have the same reaction to this relationship, especially with a ten year gap.

As for me, I absolutely loved the book. The dynamic and connection between Brock and Eric, as well as the kidnapping and psycho storyline was enough for me to forget some of the little things that should annoy me, as well as the fact that I figured out who was behind the kidnapping well before the end. The two men had fantastic chemistry and very definitely belong together!

Don’t Let Go by Andrew Grey ~ Audio Review

Title: Don’t Let Go

Author: Andrew Grey

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary, Cowboys

Length: 6 hrs, 18 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (13th December 2018)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Signs of Desire by Tempeste O'Riley ~ Audiobook

Tempeste O'Riley - Signs of Desire Cover AudioTitle: Signs of Desire

Series:  Desires Entwined 04

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hr, 35 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (27th July 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts

Blurb: Simon Tyler knows his job as a gay romance author makes his lack of faith in love more than a little ironic, but he’s tired of being used for his wallet. When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by his best friends, Simon’s not thrilled, but since he’s not the target and he’s sworn off happily-ever-after anyway, he goes along with it…until he meets Adrian, the object of their efforts, and finds perhaps he hasn’t given up on love after all.

Professor Adrian Keys has tried to date Hearing men before, but being Deaf himself, he’s never had any success at making a connection. After his friends con him into going out and Adrian realizes it’s all an elaborate plan to set him up, he braces for yet another failure, only to discover there is a spark – except it’s not with the man his friends had in mind, but with Simon Tyler instead.

Not all their friends have found a way past their romantic failures, but Simon and Adrian might be on the path to happily-ever-after.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: This is the fourth installment of the Desires Entwined series. This one could probably be heard/ read as a standalone, though by now both main characters in this one have been known to us for some time now. Simon we’ve known from the start of the series, and Adrian was introduced to us very briefly in Book 2. This series, in general is sugary sweet with the sweetest, romantic heroes and just so satisfying to hear. Actually, it’s the perfect series to just sit back or go about your day and listen to.

Simon is part of the small group of friends that are central to this series. Just like his friend, Chase, he’s seen to be nothing more than a party boy and generally a slut when it comes to men. Simon is from a wealthy and influential family, although he distances himself from them since they do not like the fact that he is gay. But Simon is independently wealthy and also happens to be a romance writer. The poor guy writes book after book of HEA for his characters (gay or otherwise) but he is just unlucky in love.

Simon meets Adrian, through Chase. Adrian was Chase’s professor at college for an advanced computer forensics type of course. Adrian also happens to be deaf. He can lip read very well but it is only natural that his primary language is American Sign Language.

Simon and Adrian seem to hit it off really well. Simon goes in with his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t hesitate in doing whatever it takes for him to be with Simon, including learning and taking classes in ASL. Simon also deals with Adrian’s sometimes difficult but always overprotective friends. That entire story line with Adrian’s friends is just wonderful – including the set down Adrian gets from an ASL teacher about throwing Simon into the deep end of ASL. But Simon takes it all in his stride.

Honestly, this is a very enjoyable and sweet story. I really loved this one because Tempeste O’Riley brought to life the challenges of learning ASL as well as telling a story from the POV of a deaf main character.

Temptations of Desire by Tempeste O'Riley ~ Audiobook

Tempeste O'Riley - Temptations of Desire Cover AudioTitle: Temptations of Desire

Series:  Desires Entwined 03

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 17 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (15th June 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: Alexander James Noble is a gender-fluid gay man who gave up on finding Mister Right a long time ago. He’s not asking for much, though. He just wants a guy who loves all of him and appreciates his feminine form too.

At the local LGBTQ center where Alex regularly volunteers, he meets Dal Sayer, an officer of the Milwaukee PD. Because he’s been rejected one too many times, Alex doesn’t trust the huge cop and the interest he shows in him, but once Dal sets his mind on something, he goes all out. Pushing aside his preconceived notions, Alex opens up just a little and soon caves.

From their first date – while dealing with his father’s failing health and his parents’ demands for him to settle down and have children – Dal never takes his eyes off his goal of making Alex his. But proving to Alex he isn’t like all the men who couldn’t see him for who he truly was and only wanted to hide him away is harder than he thought.

Product Link: Audible US | Audible UK  

Reviewer: Prime

Review: Desires Entwined is absolutely fantastic series to get into. The audio is just made so much better with the wonderful narration by Jeff Gelder (although I was not a fan of his impression on what I assume to be a Welsh accent). How he tells the story of the different characters makes it feel just so real. It’s an absolute pleasure.

Now, I know that I said that Book 2 can be read as a standalone, but I really do recommend if you don’t start with Book 1 you have to read Book 2 before getting to Temptations of Desire. This story follows Dal Sayer and Alex Noble. Dal is a detective for the Milwaukee police department. He also happens to be the brother of Rhys, one of the main characters in book 2. It is as part of the voluntary work that he undertakes for a local LGBTQ centre with his brother that he meets Alex. Alex is a personal chef to a rather wealthy gentleman who has more than one business encounter with Dal’s circle of friends. Alex also volunteers at the centre, making sure that the kids – and even the adults – get a decent meal at least once a week. Alex also has the added depth in his character that he is genderfluid, which I found to be an interesting spin on his character and is added dimension to Dal’s bisexual nature.

I would say that Alex’s story had more depth than Dal’s story. But as we found out in Book 2 when Rhys and his boyfriend went for a family meal with Dal and their parents, the parents want Dal married off and they want grandchildren. That seemed to work in Rhys’s story because we did not see their parents on page a lot owing to them being overseas. However, though we do not see their parents on page often in this book, we get to hear more about the family. The background info suggests that they are they are a very close and loving family. The well meaning meddling from the parents – it seems weird but I assure you that it is explained enough, at least to satisfy me.

Alex’s side of the story is somewhat understated, but it is clear that with him Dal has to work to show that Alex can trust him. Alex has had trouble in the past because he is genderfluid and finds himself comfortable wearing female or male gendered clothing, depending on his mood.

The flow of the story is really good and overall is well paced. Just like other books in the series this one is really sweet and I found myself quickly invested in the relationship between Dal and Alex. The ending is just nice as well. However, it left me eagerly waiting for the next installment. The short stories are not available in audio, unfortunately and I have to admit that I have not read them, but with book 4 we have another couple to follow.

Desires’ Guardian by Tempeste O'Riley ~ Audiobook

Tempeste O'Riley - Desires' Guardian Cover AudioTitle: Desires’ Guardian

Series:  Desires Entwined 02

Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Narrator: Jeff Gelder

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 6 hrs, 39 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (14th June 2016)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: Most people see Chase Manning as the party-boy twink he seems on the surface. Only James, Chase’s BFF, knows the depth of his loyalty and the extent of the wounds Chase carries inside. When Chase meets Rhys Sayer, things don’t go well, but he can’t shake his attraction to the huge, sexy man.

Rhys is a man of contradictions and fear – a strange combination for a PI and bodyguard. He’s in a bad place emotionally when he sets eyes on Chase for the first time. When Chase puts the moves on him, Rhys insults him, thwarting any possibility of a relationship. Rhys doesn’t see himself as a complicated man, but he dreads the very kind of connection he desires.

Just as they’re trying to overcome their uncertainties, Chase is put in harm’s way. Luckily Rhys and their friends have all the right talents to help Rhys save the man of his dreams.

Product Link: Audible US  | Audible UK

Reviewer: Prime

Review: This is my first audio and book I’ve had my hands on by Tempeste O’Riley. Yes, this is book 2 in a series and I have to say Desires Entwined is absolutely brilliant series – I had to binge listen to this. The point is that these books can be read as standalones but you’d be doing yourself an injustice if you don’t get to them all, even if you do as I did and go through books 2 to 4 and then book 1.

Desire’s Guardian is quite simply a wonderful audio experience. (Sort of Spoiler: Jeff Gelder is a wonderful narrator and gave a perfect voice to so many of the characters throughout the series). The story follows Chase and Rhys. I have to admit that there is a lot more depth to these characters than I first expected. The development of both guys throughout their story is spot on and just so damn relatable.

Chase is a party boy and loves being around his friends. At first it is easy to write him off as a bit shallow-headed. But there is a lot going on inside. Just recently he has already suffered a blow when Rhys, who he met through his friend James. There had been an instant attraction between the two but Rhys makes it more than clear that he doesn’t want to be with someone who he thinks is about as shallow as a tide pool. See, the thing is though, when we meet Rhys, we realize that the big, tough PI has his own hurt and hidden depths lurking below the surface.

What you see in the blurb is what you get, so there is no point me rehashing the story and risk giving out spoilers. This is an intensely sweet story and just so enjoyable. The only thing that got me was that the general time line of the story didn’t seem to mesh well.