A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Daring Ride (The Bullriders#2) by Andrew Grey and Narrator: John Solo

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This review is of the audiobook version of this book, and as such, narrator John Solo deserves a shout-out at the beginning for bringing this sweet tale of a young bull rider to life.

In typical Andrew Grey fashion, this story is a sweet romance that focuses on Simon “the Frizz” Frizzell who wants to be a bull rider more than anything.  His ultra-conservative Christian parents, however, want to keep him under their wing.  They own and operate a string of Christian bookstores and have plans for Simon that include marrying the “right” girl and taking over management of one of the bookstores. 

But Simon, who just snuck away for the weekend and garnered a top prize for seating his bull, is gay and he just knows that when his parents find out they are going to flip out and then kick him out.  As it happens, he’s not far wrong. In the meantime, Simon has written to Dante Rivers, the well-known bull rider, to ask if he can have a job at Dante’s ranch and apprentice with him so he can refine his riding skills.  Having met Dante and his partner, Ryan, and Ryan’s friend Jacky at the last event, he’s hopeful the man will remember him and agree.  It’s Ryan who actually contacts him and offers him a job and Dante reluctantly goes along with it. But it’s Jacky who seals the deal as he and Simon rekindle their spark of desire and go all the way toward making Simon’s dreams a reality—and not just the dreams of riding the bull. 

As expected, the parents don’t understand, and as expected, there are plenty of misunderstandings.  To be honest, it was a bit cliché and I’m getting pretty tired of the nasty mother and/or father who beat the Bible into the ground trope.  This one relied heavily on those clichés so it wasn’t more than a three star read for me.  And as it was, it’s really only a three star due to John Solo’s narration. He did an outstanding job with all the voices—both male and female—and his storytelling was very easy to follow.

If you like a sweet romance, love cowboys, and don’t mind some Bible-banging, I can recommend this one.

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Cover art by LC Chase features two young men, one muscular, in the upper panel and a bull in the ring in the lower panel. The cover is bright and colorful and aptly portrays the characters and theme of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Release Date Mar 23, 2018
Type Novels
Length 7:00 hrs.

A Lila Audiobook Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What they say this book’s all about?

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Late in the Day is a story of second chances and hard happily ever afters. It starts right into the action and personally, it took me a moment to make the connection between the end of the last book and the start of this one. One thing I didn’t like was the switch between the current moment and snippets of past events. By the time the characters moved back to the current timeline, I was ready to skip over.

Like many of the author’s stories, we have met Conrad before and we get to see many others helping us discover the events that shaped Conrad. Also, to learn how he fell in love with Efrem. Perhaps a bit far-fetched but it works in the end.

I did want more time with Conrad and Efrem. It seems as if we lost the majority of their love story within other books. Don’t get me wrong, they have great chemistry but I wanted them to show it, not having it be implied. It does end with a pretty wrapped up, sigh-worthy HEA.

And definitely, kudos to Mary Calmes for having characters over forty; getting closer to fifty. 🙂

As always, Greg Boudreaux did an excellent job bringing to life the new characters in this book and bringing the rest from the previous ones. It was easy to feel what the characters felt and this added to the listeners’ enjoyment.

The cover by Reese Dante has a lovely depiction of Conrad. The strength in his gaze shows through the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours and 41 minutes

Published: March 7, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07B86XWF8
Edition Language: English

Series: The Vault
Book #1: A Day Makes
Book #2: Late in the Day

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Getting His Man (Getting His Man #1) by B.G. Thomas and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A love story worthy of an old movie… with a new twist.

Artie needs a hero, a man like those he’s always revered in Golden Age films. His drug-dealing jerk of a roommate got him arrested, and since his savior isn’t likely to sweep in and save the day, Artie calls a bail bondsman.

August has always imagined himself a hero from a black-and-white movie, but he’s never found a man willing to let him play that role—at least not until he gets the call from Artie.

Both of their dreams might come true, but not before August must use his skills as a bounty hunter as well as a bondsman. Artie is on the run for his life, and August must protect him and help him clear his name. Only then can they both finally get their man.

I really enjoyed this story.  Artie is so adorably sweet and innocent but not at the same time, he just trusts easily and trying to make it on his own.  Artie is just what he has always wanted in a man but tries hard to keep some distance between them, at least at first.

These two were perfect for each other, down to the dream of dancing the night away with the right person.  I loved how they were both romantics at heart though August doesn’t outwardly show it as much but no matter how different they are in the end they want the same thing.  Part of Artie’s innocence is he can’t stand the thought of seeing anyone hurt and I could see how much he hurt himself when trying to keep August and his family safe.  August has a very determined personality and he uses it to help protect and guide Artie in just the way he needs.

Kenneth Obi did a great job narrating this story.  The voices he used for each character were perfect and helped me to connect with their personalities and emotions.  The different voices also helped with keeping track of the story.

Cover art by Bree Archer is perfect and I liked having a visual of August.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 52mins
Published March 7, 2018 (ebook first published December 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Getting His Man #1, Dreamspun Desires

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT and Giveaway for the Shatterproof Bond Series by Isobel Starling (excerpt and giveaway)

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT AND REVIEW TOUR

35515662

AS YOU WISH (Book #1)

1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!
Declan Ramsay was to be best man at his brother’s wedding in Scotland, sharing best man duties with the bride’s gay kid brother Sam. The best men wouldn’t meet for the first time until a few days before the wedding, so communicated by email for more than a year.
But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to see he isn’t a kid at all, but a striking, athletic blond man with a wicked sense of humor. Declan is alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.
But is Sam Aiken all he appears to be?

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ILLUMINATE THE SHADOW (Book #2)

The thrilling, funny sequel to ‘As You Wish’.

“A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love… After the most amazing week of his life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan Ramsay’s life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss’s son Sam.

However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken.

Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and so discovering that his employee Declan Ramsay- the man he installed to run his luxury property rental empire- is in a relationship with Sam, does not go down well.

The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam’s love.”

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RETURN TO ZERO (Book #3)
The thrilling sequel to “As You Wish” and “Illuminate the Shadows”.

Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting, and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken. Declan journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.

Two agents are missing — presumed dead, while on a reconnaissance mission at an outdoor adventure centre in the Scottish Highlands. Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover the fate of the agents.

As the mission offers his first chance to use the skills he learned on the MI6 training course in Morocco, Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that the seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple, as they begin their mission.

The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures centre, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son. Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears, and understand what they both really want from life — and from each other.

Excerpt from “Return to Zero” (Shatterproof Bond #3) 

“SAM!  Are ye home?”  Declan hollered as he opened the front door.  “Sam?”

“In here.”  Sam’s distant voice filtered from the spare bedroom.  Declan was in a buoyant mood, at last, after weeks of waiting, he’d received a call from his boss.  He sauntered confidently towards the bedroom and knocked once before walking in.

“Why d’ye no’ pick up?  I’ve called ye, like, six times already!  James wants us in fera meet —” Declan stopped, and in the way,only Sam Aiken could do, the breath was stolenfrom his lungs.

Declan’s yoga mat was laid out in the centerof the large bedroom floor, and upon it, a shamelessly nude Sam Aiken was facing the tall antique mirror that rested against the wall. He was on his belly, his back bowed, and his palmspushing against the floor as his shoulders rose in the midst of the cobra pose.

Declan slumped to sit silently on the king-size bed and watch. He stared, bug-eyed and slack-jawedat all of that flawless pale skin, wrapped around an athletic, slim frame.  Declan adored how pliant and supple Sam was.  He reveledin the sight of corded muscles moving beneath the taut surface of the younger man’s skin, like the workings of a well-honedmachine.

Ignoring his voyeur, Sam pushed himself up from the cobra pose, so he sat back on his calves.  He closed his eyes and focused on his breath, and then, when he was ready, placed his palms flat on the mat, level with his knees.  Then, putting all of his weight on his hands, Sam drew his legs out to either side of his body, doing the splits, balancing solely on his hands.

Declan’s bearded jaw dropped open, and his heart skipped a beat at the impressive sight.  The mirror allowed Declan to observe Sam from many angles, and the view was exquisite. He knew there was a reason he was home early, but, whatever the hell it was, it could wait.

Sam aligned his legs and boughtthem up above his head, so he was in a handstand position, and there he stayed for a minute, his breath shallow and barely audible.  There was not one tremble in any of Sam’s muscles. It was awe inspiring.  Sam was the very picture of oneness—strength, control, balance, and agility.  The lines of Sam’s form were sinuous and erotic, and there was no stopping the hot, hot hunger that made Declan’s whole being shudder with need.

Sam’s spine arched back and with incredible discipline, his body bowed slowly, until the soles of his feet were placed firmly on the yoga mat, and Sam was in the crab position.  He was trying so desperately to focus on his ownbreath and to remain centered, but Declan was breathing heavily through his nose, like a stag readying for the rut, and even though Sam could not actuallysee him, Declan’s presence always came with the prickle of otherworldly electricity.  It reallywas like they were magnetized.

The sound of heavy breathing was doing things to Sam’s body that he just could not control.  His heart beat faster, beads of sweat littered his brow and formed on his chest, and his pale cock reddened, filled and rose majestically, providing an extra spectacle for his handsome observer.  Sam arched his spine to its capacityand inched to his toes and fingertips.  He stayed like that, his muscles clenched tight and his cockstanding straight as a flagpole awaiting its flag.  After a minute, he slowly unclenched his muscles and allowed his body to ease its way gently back to the mat.  Each movement still effortlessly controlled.

This naked yoga routine was on the list of the most erotic things that Declan had ever seen in his life.  And now that Sam was on his back, his eyes closed, with arms stretched above his head.  Declan decided that this was his opportunity to pounce.

© Isobel Starling 2016

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COUNTERBLOW (Book #4)

After the devastating events in the Scottish Highlands, Sam and Declan have moved on to a new, deeper level in their romance. Their commitment to each other is unquestionable; however, there are plenty of questions that need answering about other aspects of their lives, and those who sought to end them.

Sam is trying his best to deal with the day to day frustrations of his injuries. He’s completely dependent on Declan for everything and hates the way the scales have tipped in their relationship. Although he’s officially on leave, Sam’s mind cannot stop replaying all that happened to him and questioning why, and who is behind it all.

Declan’s relief at having Sam home throws him into house-husband mode. He’s happy to take the reins and care for his partner, however, beneath the surface Declan cannot help but be drawn back to how he felt in the Highlands, and how they were betrayed by a man who was supposed to have their back. Declan had promised Sir James Aiken that he would pay if he hurt Sam, and now Declan has to decide how he can deliver his payback and put his and Sam’s world back on an even keel.

Catch up with the Shatterproof Bond series in Kindle Unlimited before

book #5 “Powder Burns” is released in the spring. 

Series Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited, in Paperback, and on Audible.

Amazon US

 Amazon UK

Audible.com

Audible UK

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT AND REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

About the Author

Isobel’s novel “As You Wish” (Shatterproof Bond #1) is an Amazon Best Seller on Amazon.com and Amazon France. Nine novels into her writing career Isobel has just released The Shatterproof Bond box set which contains all three novels in the series, and the first book in the M/M Romantic Comedy mystery series “Dick and the Sidekick” -“Detective Fox and the Christmas Caper”.

“As You Wish” has been translated into French under the title “Comme Vous Voudrez”
The rest of the Shatterproof Bond novels will soon be available in French and German.

Find Isobel Starling here:

Facebook 

Twitter 

Website

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads 

~

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Feeling Springy! What’s Old is New Again.This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Feeling Springy! What’s Old is New Again.

So many things that I love about Spring! Yes, new things abound from young sprouts to tadpoles but also the fact that what has seemed old and seemingly dead, perhaps even barren, teems with life once more. Old oaks and maples majestically green out with canopies wide  where before you may have seen only bare limbs and trunks scarred and bent by age.  Gardens left covered with weeds still send forth bounty of flowers and produce no matter what sort of neglect they have suffered, and those secret patches of wildflowers sought out year after year, the lady slippers and the showy orchis, still emerge, no matter what changes their habitat have undergone, thankfully.

Other things can be like that and sure enough one of my favorite movies came up.  Somewhere in Time.  It’s not only a beloved movie that has been used recently in a M/M romance story (Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams)   but uses a familiar trope (time travel to see  or save a loved one).  Of course, right on the heels of that one, I watched a new Netflix anime Kuromukuro (outstanding) that had another man out of time element.  He was seeking revenge for a woman.  No spoilers.  But more movies and books of this vein started to pour through my mind, all the twists and turns that various authors and writers had given this theme.  Taken something old and made it new again.  And again.  And again.

We love our familiar tropes for just that reason.  Our monsters turned heros who find love, second chance at HEA, meet cutes, our lovers reunited, our ghostly romances, our time traveling lovers, even our aliens from space, all of these come up again and again.  Writers reach back and try to make the old new, fresh with their own perspective and storylines.

So in keeping with our Spring topic.  What  tropes do you see the most of?  Which do you think are overused or just plain used? And which get the best new spin?  I’m just plain curious to see what you all have to say on this topic.  Name stories or movies if you wish or just comment.  It’s our What’s Old is New Again Giveaway!.  And it will carry us into the end of the month for a gift cert for $10.  Leave your name and a comment and a email where you can be reached if chosen.

✒︎

♦︎Announcement:  The winner of our What’s New In LGBT Romance Fiction Giveaway is Steve Wroten.  Steve, please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will hook you up with your gift certificate. Congratulations!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 14:

  • Feeling Springy! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  •  BLITZ Deadly Dorian by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Monday, April 15:

  •  Dreamspun Promo Kris T. Bethke on Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2)
  • Harmony Promo Sean Kennedy on The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3)
  • Release Blitz – Addison Albright – The Contingency Plan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding
  • A Caryn Review:Asylum (Pride and Joy #2) by Robert Winter
  • A MelanieM Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Review :Precious Moments by Casper Graham

Tuesday, April 16:

  • COVER REVEAL – Under Five by Michael War
  • AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT – Shatterproof Bond Series by Isobel Starling
  • BOOK BLITZ for NATURAL ENEMIES by Roan Parrish
  • TOUR Whirlwind by J.V. Speyer
  • A Lucy Review: Big Man by Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Lost Souls Found (Requiem Inc. #2) by Kris T. Bethke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Obstruction of Emma Goldsworthy (Get Out #3) by Sean Kennedy

Wednesday, April 17:

  • BLOG TOUR SQUARED AWAY by Annabeth Albert
  • Book Blitz – Five Dares – Eli Easton
  • REVIEW TOUR Ari McKay – Like The Night
  • Theoden: A New Haven Series Prequel by Nicholas Bella Blog Tour
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)
  • A Lucy Review: Coming Out In The Art by J. Sanders
  • A MelanieM Review: Like the Night (Blood Bathory #1) by Ari McKay
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Getting His Man (Getting His Man #1) by B.G. Thomas and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

Thursday, April 18:

  • DSP Publications Promo Aidan Wayne
  • RELEASE BLITZ Life Is A Stevie Wonder Song – V.L. Locey
  • BLOG TOUR Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey
  • A Jeri Review: Campus Life by TC Orton
  • A MelanieM Review:Inked in Vegas (Heathens Ink #5.5) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Lila Review: Let Me In by Luna David
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady  Review: Soul to Keep (Rented Heart universe) by Garrett Leigh

Friday, April 19:

  • BLOG TOUR Heartbeats by Jenna Kendrick
  • Book Blast – Omega Required by Dessa Lux
  • DSP Promo Amy Lane
  • BLOG TOUR Redeeming the Stepbrother by Andrew Grey
  • A MelanieM Review :
  • A Caryn Review: Surprise Delivery (Hearts & Health #5) by DJ Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Daring Ride (The Bullriders#2) by Andrew Grey and Narrator: John Solo

Saturday, April 20:

  • Release Blitz Jay Northcote – Second Chance
  • Release Blitz – Love For All Seasons – Various Authors
  • A MelanieM Review: One Last Heist by Dahlia Donovan

A Lila Audiobook Review: The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

The Gryphon King’s Consort has an interesting concept but too much backstory for such a short book. The world build is excellent but it takes away from the romance and the connection between Eirian and Luca. I love the arranged marriage setup but it wasn’t enough to carry the whole story.

My main dislike about the characters was how easy it seems for them to change their minds or trust more on someone else. They keep each other at an arm’s length even when they internally fight about it. It’s hard to believe in the future of their relationship when they are indifferent to it.

The fantasy/paranormal aspects make the reader want more. I enjoyed how the author integrates humans and “others” in a world that feels feasible. All the secondary characters and the settings added to the overall magic of a story that could be happening somewhere.

In reality, this is a good story just not an all-consuming romance. If you enjoy this Dreamspun line, this book will work for you.

Andrew McFerrin gave the story a regal air. He did a good job creating the voices and introducing the listener to the different characters in the story.

The cover by Aaron Anderson is an adaptation of the ebook but it’s not really appealing. It shows the King and the Gryphon but it doesn’t seem cohesive.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes

Published: March 5, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07B65WFWM
Edition Language: English

A Lucy Audiobook Review: The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey and Simon Ferrar (Narrator)

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Rated 3 stars out of 5

Fathi is uber-rich, running the family business to the point where that is all he has – working.  His grandfather doesn’t like that and when it turns out that Fathi has been betrothed since childhood to a woman from their region, what is he to do? He’s never come out to grandfather and he doesn’t want to lose his place in the company.   Fathi went to college in New York and he worked out that he is gay but since Grandfather is an old school man from the Middle East, that wouldn’t be accepted.  So he is quiet about it and look where it gets him.  He ends up engaged to Ikraam, the victim of an abusive older system, who isn’t all he seems. The two of them are so confused when they are attracted to each other and the secrets are kept.  You know that something has to give and eventually it does. 

Let’s talk about Ikraam’s sister.  Talk about devil spawn.  She is completely evil. Not only did she try to marry off her niece to a rapist, but I wanted to much more to happen to her for the atrocities she committed to her brother.  It was difficult at time to read the abuse Ikraam was put through by that evil witch.  I was so glad that Fathi turned out to be a caring, responsible person.  Even though he knew he wouldn’t be a true husband to his “wife”, he still wanted to take care of her and make her life a good one.   

I did wonder how the fact that Ikraam has been raised and treated as a female (and a second class one at that) for all his life would be addressed but it really wasn’t.  It was accepted and he would be she outside the home, he inside.  In the culture this story is set that made me question the wisdom because if society there wouldn’t accept gay, are they going to accept this?

I can say something that brought down the rating for me was the treatment of Fathi’s secretary, an educated woman who worked hard, was very professional and did nothing wrong (other than fall in love with her boss)  but who really was shamed by both Fathi and Ikraam by the end.  Made me sad and made them less sympathetic.   There aren’t any decent women portrayed here and to shame this poor woman just for being modern and trying to be something besides an ornament or abused was appalling.

The audiobook runs just over five hours and is narrated by Simon Ferrar.  I felt he did a great job with differentiating voices and accents.  I do think had I read this, as opposed to listening to it, my rating would have been lower.  He brought life to the story and even the things that I had issues with.

The cover, by Bree Archer, shows the elegant Fathi against a desert background and fits my idea of what Fathi looked like.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon | Audible| iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published March 14th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07BFHB19B
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Supers (The Supers #1) by Sean Michael and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating:  2.5 stars out of 5

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.

Okay, I liked this story for the most part but there were a lot of little things that didn’t work for me.  I guess from the blurb I thought these guys were established in the supernatural world much more than their little group seems to be considering they need to have day jobs to support themselves.  The ghost hunting mystery was the main focus of the story which I enjoyed but there wasn’t any connection to the characters.  I felt like I was just along for the ride and not invested in the turn out of the story and we were told a lot about how they felt for each other but not really shown.  I don’t usually have a problem with insta-love but in the context of this book and with these characters it didn’t work for me either.  There were a lot of interesting characters and I plan to continue this series to see how their TV series goes I just hope I’ll be a little more into those stories.

Kenneth Obi didn’t do a bad job narrating this story, but it didn’t work for me.  Many of the voices he uses for the characters sounded like they were high or were grating on my nerves.  I think the combination of the writing style and audio didn’t make this book as enjoyable as it would have been it I had read the book myself.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is great and I love the visual of Flynn.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6hrs 18min
Published March 2, 2018 (ebook first published October 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: The Supers #1, Dreamspun Beyond

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael and Jeff Gelder (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

Eric doesn’t know where else to turn when his daughter is kidnapped, so he calls on his powerful ex-lover, Brock. Brock never expected to hear from Eric again, but he never got over the man, either. When Eric comes to him to help find the three-year-old Josie, there’s no way Brock can turn him down. He has the money and the contacts Eric needs, and he can’t let Eric walk out of his life again. Not after all these years.

Brock has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Together, Eric and Josie turn Brock’s world upside down while they work with police and private security to find the people who took Josie, and to keep Eric and Josie safe while they do. Even as they get to know each other again, Brock has to fight the feelings he still has for Eric, at least for time being, which just makes it all that much harder. Can Eric and Brock find out who wants to hurt them before it’s too late, or will Brock fall off his pedestal as Eric’s hero?

I had read Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael when it first came out and thoroughly enjoyed the story then so I was curious to revisit it in audiobook format.

It had been some time so the audiobook made the story fresh again.    I love tales with ex lovers getting that second chance at love and Unlikely Hero certainly has that with Eric turning to Brock for help  after nine years because his daughter has been kidnapped.  We get an extremely emotional setup that eventually leads to their breakup details later as they work on getting Josie back.

Brock is all big, strong, hugely rich, and gorgeous man…he all but has the word hero written on his chest.  Eric is the more vulnerable high school teacher who broke it off years ago because he wanted a “normal life”, read that one outside that of a multi-millionaire, with a house in the burbs with kids.  He now has that child who has been kidnapped for no reason anyone can understand.

The rest of the novel seeks to unravel the mystery behind Josie’s kidnapped and watching Brock, and Eric reconnect, and try to figure out how to move forward as a couple, and then as a family with Josie.  Josie, a three year old, is a major character here.  I found her far more successful in the novel than here in the audiobook.  That’s due primarily to the narrator.

Narrating the voices of children accurately is incredibly tough.  You either nail it or you don’t.  And imo, Jeff Gelder just can’t get a child’s voice right.  Josie comes off sounding more like a elderly woman than a three-year old, which is very disconcerting.  Not only does she sound “older” than she is., but it comes dangerously close to being portrayed like a comedy routine because of the disconnect between the voice and the character.  That’s too bad because Gelder’s other voices are just fine for the men he’s playing.

Other factors that seem highlightered here that   perhaps I didn’t notice in the other format?  The length of time it took for the police to put all the clues and details together to catch the perpetrator seemed odd and too long.  I can’t remember.  Maybe the book was written back in 2009, so forensics was less advanced than now and that’s hard to remember when the audiobook comes out in 2018.  But when you start to focus on things that annoy you like a badly done child’s voice, then other elements start to pop up as well.  Funny how that happens.

Still, Unlikely Hero is a sweet contemporary romance with a child firmly at the center.  Love that element?  Then you are sure to love this story.  You might want to read it, however, instead of listening to it.  Jeff Gelder’s “Daddy B, Daddy B” after a while was downright irritating instead of endearing as it was in the story.  What a sham

Cover art: LC Chase is just adorable and perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, Second Edition
Published March 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 2009)
Original TitleUnlikely Hero
ASINB07B4GW8Z9
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: Red Fish, Dead Fish ( Fish Out of Water #2) by Amy Lane and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What they say this book’s all about?

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Red Fish, Dead Fish is even better than Fish Out of Water. I have forgotten that when Amy Lane goes for gritty and sad it’s always detailed and perfect. What Jackson endures in this second story takes off with the same intensity and suffering. Yes, it’s more than redeeming in the end, but he has to fight with everything he has to get to the other side, where Ellery is always waiting for him.

The author did an excellent job integrating this volume within the main story. We get to learn more about Jackson’s life, his fears, and the need he has to love and be love. Ellery is always there with him even when Jackson tries to push him aside. They have learned to work together and comfort each other better. There’s always an internal fight not to give the other too much but in the end, they always provided what the other needed.

There’s a large variety of secondary characters, new and old, that make the reader want to know more about their stories. Plus, in Amy Lane’s fashion, we get to see characters from her other books making small cameos in this book. It works and is always best to read the other books first; in this case, Racing for the Sun. There are also some bonus short stories at the end of the audiobook that are worth listening to. They bring all three books together.

I don’t think this series is over. The reader gets a complete story, but there’s always the possibility for more. Opened doors and new phycological adventures for Jackson and Ellery. This book was long and action-packed. Parts are cringeworthy and you get to suffer with the characters but in the end, it goes perfectly with the characters and their story.

Greg Tremblay brings the characters back to life without missing a step. They’re as strong and individual as on the first book, getting the reader submerged into the story within minutes.

The cover by Reese Dante matches the previous book with its clean lines and out of the ordinary elements. Still, quite literal, but it works one more time.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 11 hours and 48 minutes

Published: March 2, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01LZQ0MBK

Edition Language: English

Series: Fish Out of Water
Book #1: Fish Out of Water
Book #2: Red Fish, Dead Fish