A BJ Audiobook Review: Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn and Narrator Craig Beck


Rating:    3.5 stars out of 5

PatchworkParadise_AudiobookOliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.

The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.

When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.

Usually a blurb is a taste of what happens in the book at the beginning, but this blurb seemed a bit misleading as it pretty much tells about the whole entire book. For instance, Thomas’s son does appear until well past the halfway point in the story, perhaps only in the last third it seemed.

The first third of the story was a total tearjerker, so very, desperately sad and hard to listen to. I felt so awful for Ollie and for Samuel. The aftermath of his death I felt was handled well as far as the grieving process, but I found it interesting that he had no real interest in seeing justice served on the man who had killed his fiancé.

In the second third of the story, I began to feel bad for Thomas as well. I also found myself wondered what it had been about Ollie that had him fall in love when he first met him on what he’d thought was a date, so deeply that it lasted all those years. Thomas was an interesting character, and I especially liked that he was unabashedly bisexual. Although I did connect with him and feel for him, I felt his history and backstory was a bit sketchy. And his messing around with everyone, and I do mean everyone… even a friend, and then hooking up with a guy on a trip even though he still obviously was not over Ollie rather bothered me as well.    

Aside from the moments of joy at the beginning, there was mostly angst, pain and grieving, loss and unrequited love, and problems coming from right and left for the first full two thirds of this story. Not only for Ollie (and Sam), but also Thomas, as well as their friend Chloe. Also I felt awful for Peter, the nice vet who Ollie hooked up with and used as his first sex with another man (ever) after Sam’s death. He seemed such a sweet guy, and he obviously cared. When little Milo arrived on the scene, things begin to lighten up just a bit, but even then, it was interspersed with yet more problems, drama, and angst. 

Despite that, I enjoyed this audiobook. The writing was good, and I felt that the narrator did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life, making me feel their individuality and emotions. It was also easy to listen to and understand, which is not always true when there are accents. The narration was consistent, sounded authentic to the area, was easy to listen to and held my attention. I would be glad to pick up other audios narrated by Craig Beck.

I liked the cover by Lou Harper, although the guy with the darker hair who is Thomas doesn’t seem to be larger than the other guy as described in the book.

Sales Links

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Book Details:  6 hrs, 42 mins

Published July 14th 2016 by Riptide Publishing

A BJ Audiobook Review: Dancing Lessons by R. Cooper and Narrator: Brian Schell


 Rating:  2.5 stars out of 5

dancing-lessons audiobookTwo years of living with his controlling boyfriend left Chico worn down long before that boyfriend revealed he’d been seeing someone else. With no other choice, Chico moves in above his cousin’s garage in a small town in the redwoods, where he merely goes through the motions. To get him out of the house, his cousin pushes him to volunteer at a local dance studio to help with their annual show.

He’s not expecting to end up in a dance class, or to start feeling alive again in the arms of his dance instructor. Rafael is the studio owners’ son and was once a well-known dancer in his own right, but now enjoys being a teacher. Although Chico likes him, he’s afraid of taking a chance. But Rafael is determined, and it only takes one dance for Chico to start to realize he might still have something to learn.

From the beginning, the narration on this left me cold. There was very little nuance of characters, emotions, or variations. The reading seemed flat, not like a performance to me, but like an average person reading a book out loud, which isn’t really what I hope for when buying an audio.  I found it hard to get into the story and as it went on hard to keep track as the voice and inflections tended to annoy me and pulled me out of it. I found this audio very hard to listen to.

Since I also own but had not read the ebook of this, I decided to try reading a bit of it to compare the experience to listening to the audio, and can say that this is a case of the book being better than the audio delivery of it. The writing style didn’t mesh well with for me, parts read as confusing and left me trying to figure things out as they weren’t clear, just didn’t flow for me sequentially or something, especially when it came to dialogue. I had to re-read some bits a few times to figure out what was going on… it was as if there was a communication gap between the author and myself that I had a hard time breeching.

Although the story wasn’t long, it still felt really slow for me at some parts. However, there were some things I really enjoyed about the story, although at times I felt Chico was a bit over the top with things like “silly Chico,” I could relate to how someone can feel so down on themselves due to the ways others have treated them. How sometimes the relationships we live with can change us drastically, until we lose who we once were along with our confidence. And how we are surprised by the most basic decent treatment from others, by their appreciation or attraction. That part was very poignant and real to me. Except that for him to have gotten to that point, it would seem to me that it would have either taken longer or been more predominate than just how one person had treated him. I did also want to mention, that it bugged me when Chico turned around and later said “silly Raf” in a scene

Overall, this is a sweet story with lots of UST, some heat, and a few memorable moments.

I wish that I had chosen to read this entirely as an ebook rather than listen on audio. From trying it for a part that way, I am sure I would have enjoyed it more in that format. Perhaps I will indeed go back and read again once I have let some time pass. For now, I need to rate it as an audiobook though… I rate the story as a 3 star, although I might have rated it higher if it was read rather than listened to, I’m not sure. But I rate the narration as a 2, and for me that is being generous as I really did not connect at all with this narrator, and because of that, feel that I didn’t connect with the story.

I like the cover by Catt Ford and can picture a particular scene when I see it, however it doesn’t give a feel of the book as related to dancing or costume design, etc.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details: 

5 hrs 17 mins

Published May 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

A BJ Audiobook Review: Romanus by Mary Calmes and Narrated by Greg Tremblay


Rating:   3 out of 5 stars

Romanus audioStopping to offer help one sultry summer night, Mason James is unprepared for the change that this simple act of kindness will bring. After giving an old man a ride home, Mason discovers a new, magical, and even dangerous world he cannot hope to understand. But he also finds Luc Toussaint and is intoxicated at first sight… and even the secret Luc protects won’t be enough to keep Mason away from the truth of his heritage and their love.

Interesting and different paranormal element in this novel that kept me guessing and quite a bit confused for quite some time before it’s revealed. There were things about the beginning that stumped me a bit as to why Mason, a firefighter, was so clueless, but it was explained away by him having worked a recent double shift as a firefighter and so I just went with it.

I won’t mention what Romanus means in this review in case it will spoil finding out naturally inside of the story as I did, because it’s pretty cool. I enjoyed the mythology of the story but to be honest, I found it confusing and unclear. It was hard for me to put together and understand the culture of these creatures even when it was explained. I think this may have been for a few reasons, first off that it was all from Mason’s POV. Also the short length of the story didn’t allow for much time to explore, there was a lot of info packed into such a short space. It also made it feel that the story was a bit rushed and telly, and the plot lacked depth.

The romance element I would call something of the fated-mate insta-love variety, despite the fact that Mason does ask for time to get to know him later… but only after he’d pretty much committed to him for life. There was a particularly steamy outdoor scene that I enjoyed quite a bit, but overall I didn’t feel the emotion between the characters. Nor did either of them draw me in enough to make me care for them. There were so many things that I wanted more about, that I wish we had been shown or that I wish had been explained better. I see that there is a second book coming, so perhaps that will happen in book two.

Greg Tremblay’s voice is always easy to listen to, and it drew me into the story even through the times when I was quite unclear on what the heck was really going on.

The cover by Reese Dante is intriguing although it’s hard to read at the smaller online size.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Book Details: 

Audible Audio, 2 pages, 1 hr 57 mins
Published May 24th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published June 1st 2010)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesRomanus #1, Midsummer’s Nightmare settingKentucky (United States)

A BJ Audiobook Review: Dirty Laundry (Tucker Springs #3) by Heidi Cullinan and Narrated by Iggy Toma


Rating:   5 out of 5 stars

DirtyLaundry_AudiobookThe course of true love doesn’t always run clean. But sometimes getting dirty is half the fun.

Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.

Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.

Trouble is, Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.

This one grabbed me right from the first page, and by the end it was officially my favorite of the series… and this was my fifth of the series, I went a bit out of order having started at book five and skipped around.

What fun and likable characters! I thoroughly enjoyed both of these very different characters. They were well-drawn, nuanced, and much more than just their issues. I liked the way the BDSM element in this story came in, not as something that the guys had been out there specifically seeking, but as a way of relating that worked for them for very real and understandable reasons.

Chock full of angst, kink, and sprinkled liberally with sexy bits throughout starting off with an early on sizzling scene in the public laundromat. Denver and Adam just sparked and worked for me as a couple right from that first scene. Really enjoyed seeing a main character who was dealing with OCD and Denver, well… he’s dealing with his own issues which I won’t spoil by revealing. I loved how they accepted each other despite that there was no quick fix here, no true love cures all. And not only were they able to love despite their illnesses and issues and work together to learn to deal with them… but that their issues/quirks had actually been instrumental in drawing them to one another in the first place. I adored how this made me feel that hope that everyone is right for someone just the way they are.

The secondary characters were also very loveable and strong and added a richness and diversity to the story. There was Louisa, Adam’s trans friend; Brad, Adam’s annoying ex who really did seem to care for him despite being a clueless asshat most of the time; Tiny who see’s Denver’s potential and keeps at him to work for him at the gym; and of course characters from the prior stories like El and Jason.

This is the fifth of this series that I’ve read. Narrator Iggy Toma has done an exceptional job with all of the four that he has narrated. The voices for the characters across the series were unique and fit just right with how I’d perceive them. The emotions and quirkiness of these two in particular came through perfectly. I will definitely be on the look out for other audiobooks narrated by him.

The cover by L.C. Chase   does a nice job of establishing the personality and difference of the characters and ties in well with others in the series.

Sales Links:   Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details: 

Audible Audio, 8 pages, 7 hrs 34 mins
Published March 30th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 28th 2013)
Original TitleDirty Laundry
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTucker Springs #3 settingColorado (United States)

A BJ Audiobook Review: Second Hand (Tucker Springs #2) by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton Narrated by Iggy Toma


Rating:    4.75 out of 5 stars

SecondHand-AudioCoverPaul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he’s not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic.

El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn’t apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself.

Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There’s no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn’t mean second best.

This is actually the third I’ve listened to in this series, and my favorite so far. A very sweet story with enjoyable characters, interesting families and a cute dog. Neither of the guys are gorgeous or have fancy careers, but are both ordinary guys that I could relate to. El owns a pawnshop which had been his grandfather’s and has a hoarder mother (loved the way that was handled), and Paul dreamed of being a vet but didn’t do so well in school and ended up working at a vet’s office as a receptionist. Paul’s denial and story read very real to me, perhaps because overall he didn’t come across as the smartest tool in the shed. No that he was dumb, but he was refreshingly simple. Thoroughly enjoyed Paul and also liked his mother, especially her reaction at the end.

El’s big family was well drawn and interesting, as was his big bouncer friend Denver who is the MC in the next story (which I’m now eager to read). And I loved El both for his role in his family, for taking over her grandfather’s store with hopes of helping his mother, and for his easy going and relatable personality. The way he dealt with his attraction to Paul and the little one item a day limit ploy that Paul never did figure out was great. I felt the chemistry between the guys, not scorching hot but a slow, realistic burn that had me unable to stop listening.

I could relate so well to Paul’s desire to be number one for someone at something as well as to his cluelessness about when folks were flirting with or interested in him. And El’s words about the unimportance of things, which tied up beautifully at the ending, really spoke to me. The secondary characters were also very relatable and individual.

The narrator, Iggy Toma, was perfect for this story. The voices were different for each character and sounded just right. The emotions and nuances of character came through well. Overall, I listened to this story in one single day.

The cover by L.C. Chase ties is very cute and fitting for the series.

Sales Links: Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTune

Book Details: Published January 22nd 2016 by Riptide Publishing

A BJ Audiobook Review: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall ~Narrated by Alexander Doddy


Rating:     3 out of 5 stars

Waiting for the Flood audioPeople come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to a build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

This is my third book by this author. I adored For Real, abso-freaking-lutely loved it. But the other one I’d read not so much, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with a third one. Even after listening to it, I’m wasn’t sure and had to really think about it. There were parts that I found quite slow, where my attention drifted away and I had to struggle to make myself focus on the story. But then there were other parts that I found to be deep and poignant, that jerked at my heart in the way they felt so raw and real. The writing was lyrical, slow-paced, contemplative.

The premise of two men meeting during a storm/flood appealed to me, as I usually adore such stories. But there were many times that I was confused by the words and conversation, which may have been part of why my mind often wandered. I enjoyed Adam’s character quite a lot, but Edwin not so much. He seemed so very hung up on his old relationship even though a few years had past, that he let it influence him to the point that he cut himself off from life, and he very nearly let it get in the way of something good several times.

I’ve not listened to too many audios narrated with a UK accent, so it took me a tiny bit to get used to it. Not that it wasn’t lovely, as it certainly was, just that it was a little bit harder to understand for me at first until my ears got attuned to it. I felt that he did a stellar job at handling Edwin’s speech impediment.

Beautiful cover… I adore rain and these guys walking hand in hand in it totally did it for me.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon

Book Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages, Listening Length: 2 hours and 51 minutes
Published May 23rd 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 21st 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpires Universe

A BJ Audiobook Review: Where Nerves End (Tucker Springs #1) by L.A. Witt ~ Narrated by Iggy Toma



Rating:     3.5 out of 5 stars

Where Nerves End audiobookJason Davis can handle a breakup. And an overwhelming mortgage. And a struggling business. And the excruciating pain that keeps him up at night thanks to a shoulder injury. But all of it at once? Not so much. When his shoulder finally pushes him to a breaking point, Jason takes a friend’s advice and gives acupuncture a try.

Acupuncturist Michael Whitman is a single dad struggling to make ends meet. When a mutual friend refers Jason as a patient, and Jason suggests a roommate arrangement to alleviate their respective financial strains, Michael jumps at the opportunity.

But Jason soon finds himself regretting it—he’s too damn attracted to Michael, and living with him is harder than he thought it’d be. In fact, the temptation to act on his feelings would almost be too much if not for the fact that Michael is straight. Or at least, that’s what their mutual friend claims.

This book began well for me. I liked Jason, felt for him and what he was going through, and was very eager to see him find the help he needed to get his life on track. When he met Michael and not only was he able to help him with his pain, but with his financial problems, that was working for me. I enjoyed Michael and his son for the healthy lifestyle and his caring. I felt the chemistry of Jason’s immediate attraction and his frustration at Michael being straight.  I also enjoyed all the stuff on the eastern medicine, acupuncture, cupping, etc. Very interesting.

Midway through I begin to not enjoy it quite as much. First the characters have a talk and Michael has the perfect opportunity to say something to Jason that he chooses not to reveal. The next thing we know, the whole story changed for me. I’m not a fan of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and of MC having sex with other people in my books. In this book, we get all three, I’m sad to say. And nope, I didn’t enjoy that part at all. Why did that have to happen? It left me pouting. Later, after he pursues Jason and they have an interlude, Michael does explain his reasoning, and it actually made sense a bit until the next thing he turns around and does is deny the whole thing and suddenly it makes no sense at all. Michael’s complete denial to everyone, even though he admitted he’d knew for years and years and even thought he’d grown up with a close gay friend who he never confided in bugged me as well.

So while I enjoyed how the story ultimately ended, the storyline itself lost its glow for me after that. However, Iggy Toma is a wonderful narrator and did a great job of keeping me engaged. He brought the characters to life and gave them dimension. I enjoyed the distinct voices he used, and the emotion he put into each scene. I’d give the narrator 4 stars and the story 3 stars for an average of 3.5.

The cover  by L.C. Chase ties in with the rest of the series and does an adequate job of representing the guys and the town although I didn’t find it sexy or particularly appealing.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Book Details:

Audible Audio, 7 pages, 6 hrs 55 mins
Published December 20th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published June 3rd 2012)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTucker Springs #1 settingTucker Springs, Colorado (United States

A BJ Review: Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs #4) by L.A. Witt and Narrated by Charlie David



Rating:    3.75 out of 5 stars

CovetThyNeighbor_AudiobookTattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smokescreen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

First off I have to say that after listening to other books in the series read by a different narrator, it was a bit jarring to get used to having this one read by someone else. While I enjoyed Charlie David’s voice tones, I missed Iggy. The two main character’s voices actually sounded pretty much the same to me. I really prefer when there are noticeably different voices since in an audio, there are no things like line breaks and stuff to give us a clue when the speaker changes. Sometimes I even got a bit lost as to which character was speaking.

As for the story itself, the physical relationship between these guys was nearly instant, which took me by surprise considering that one is a minister. Given what I knew about Seth’s past and the fact that Darren was up front about his career before they hit the sack, that surprised me. I found it strange that both of them would have so little control and not just once, but repeatedly especially when they kept regretting it the mornings after and feeling so strained around each other. I wished there had been more relationship development up front but it came across to me as based mostly on sex for a long while. So the middle part rather lost me for a while.

During the whole middle of the story, I had trouble liking Seth. It seemed like he was being so judgmental and unaccepting, which was supposed the exact thing he was disliking Darren for. But Darren was not that. I liked Darren from the start, and as it wore on though, I quite embraced his take on religion. How he strives to live a life based on the New Testament, leaving behind the Old Testament makes sense. There are so very many laws and rules in the Old Testament which modern day Christians break on a daily basis, so where to draw the line on what to dismiss and what to continue to hold as doctrine is very much ambiguous.

Personally, I wished this had been a dual POV. Darren’s character was my favorite of the two and would have loved to be in his head and see more depth to him. The things Seth said to him and then finding out his past and thus knowing how they must have hurt, damn. That kicked the story up an extra half star for me right there. And if not for what Seth had done at the LGBT youth center, I probably would have really hated him at that point.

Enjoyed revisiting with Michael and Jason, and meeting Seth’s cat Stanley. Wish that the ending had been a bit more. While I liked it well enough, it just seemed to wrap up a bit too easily.

This cover by L.C. Chase is my fav from the series so far as both halves really represented the characters and their life well.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes

Book Details:

Published April 5th 2016 by Riptide Publishing

A BJ Audiobook Review: Tackling the Tight End  (Long Pass Chronicles #3) by Tara Lain and 
John – Paul Barrel (Narrator)


Rating:   3 stars out of 5

Tackling the Tight End AudioEveryone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez – and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem.

Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis’s pain and incredible ability to survive.

Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good – but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?

I wanted to read this because it is set in SoCal and one of the main characters is a sexy Native American (I mean, look at that cover! Gorgerous). I haven’t read the first two books in this series but had been told that since it involves a new couple, it could be read as a standalone. I am sure that is the case. However, in my particular case, if I had more background on the other main character, Dennis, from reading the other books, I probably would not have chosen to read this story. My dissatisfaction with this story revolves around him. See I have this thing (button? trigger?) about breech of trust and betrayal and cheating. And actually, anything that even comes close to these things can make it very hard for me to actually enjoy a book. Therefore, this book was extremely hard for me to read. To be honest, I wanted to DNF and would have if not listening for review. Therefore, I will say up front that this review is biased as I have to rate based on personal enjoyment, right? And this was just NOT the book for me.

On the positive side, I loved Raven’s character and all of the parts about the tribe, the two-sprits, the traditions and stories, the work he does with the kids, and so much more. Definitely swoon-worthy. I also enjoyed his friend Walter and his grandfather–they were great. Raven was such a well-drawn and all around lovely character. I wish he’d been paired with someone who didn’t push all my “off” buttons so that I could have fully enjoyed his story in the way I’d have liked to.

Unfortunately, the other main character, Dennis… well, it was very hard to connect and empathize with him and found myself wishing I could just skip over some of the parts concerning him. Many of the things he did left me cold. Granted he did what he did under coercion—his family was just despicable—and that he disliked doing it. Yet he did it for years. How many people’s lives did he hurt? I did not enjoying reading about that sort of playing of others in one of my main characters. Plus it wasn’t really clear to me for some time exactly how they were controlling him. So that side of the story, I just did not enjoy. It made me tense and unhappy and twitchy as I was listening, and I really just wanted to turn it off.

The story is well-written. Raven is hot and sexy and I loved him. There are some sweet and well done sexy bits, but it was impossible for me to overlook that during a big part of them Dennis was hiding such major stuff from Raven and lying so much—knowing that made it impossible for me to fully engage and enjoy the two as a couple.

The narrator was adequate, but not my favorite because in my opinion there wasn’t enough variation in the characters voices. Overall, my enjoyment stars break down something like this: 3 for narration, 5 for Raven’s story, 1 for Dennis’s story as it just totally put me off. So going in the middle for a 3.

The cover  by Reese Dante is gorgeous… it’s what caught my eye and made me want to read this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | iTunes | Amazon | Audible

Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 9 pages, 9 hrs
Published April 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 15th 2016)
Original TitleTackling the Tight End
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLong Pass Chronicles #3

A BJ Audiobook Review: To the Highest Bidder (A Planet Called Wish #1) by Caitlin Ricci
 and Narrated by Jean Samson


Rating:  2.75 stars out of 5

ToTheHighestBidderAUDLGThe Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there’s no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry’s brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry’s only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.

On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin’s boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry’s virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as “Dragonfly,” and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry’s first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.

My first read by this author. I love sci-fi and space opera type stories, so this seemed like it would be right up my alley. The set up of the story was interesting and the world building was intriguing enough that I would be willing to read more set in this universe. Although I would most certainly have enjoyed more description of the races and their differences as they all came across as basically human for me as anatomy and looks seemed pretty much the same except for a few mentions of skin color differences.

Although I was fairly sure who Dragonfly was right from the beginning, the set up had me intrigued. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect to either of the main characters or even really like them.

They guys kept saying they loved each other, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t see a reason for Thierry’s nearly instant love for Dragonfly other than perhaps gratitude and infatuation with someone who’d made his first sex good. But that brings me to another issue I had with the story, which was that the sexy bits just didn’t feel hot to me, in fact, all the sex scenes, even the first after the bidding which was rather a key element of the story, just seemed rushed and flat. Thierry and Corbin as Synths, a species that is supposed to be super sensual and sensitive and reactive, and yet that didn’t come across for me during the actual sex scenes.

It bugged me that Thierry’s went against their agreement and ripped Dragonfly’s mask off, it seemed a betrayal. Then it bugged me even more the way he reacted when he discovered who Dragonfly was–I just didn’t like Thierry at all after than. Nor did I enjoy  all the back and forth once the identity came out. It got quite annoying for me. Finally, the ending didn’t sit well with me, especially after such an extended period of separation and with no period of re-acquaintance—it just didn’t feel real for me.

However, I enjoyed Thierry’s brother Corbin’s character, his view on his job and satisfaction with his life as well as the way he cared for his brother and supported him. Considering that book two is based around him, I would be interested to give that one a try.

The narration was just okay for me. I enjoyed the reader’s voice in that it was nice to listen to, but the emotion felt flat to me quite often and the voices were not distinctly individual as with some audios that I’ve listened to recently.

Very interesting and unique cover that drew my eyes and made me want to read the story.

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Book Details:  

Cover Artist Caitlin Ricci
Narrator Jean Samson
Length 5 hours and 11 minutes
AudiobooksCaitlin RicciA Planet Called Wish by Caitlin Ricci