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

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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
ASINB01DKVWQH0
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTucker Springs #3 settingColorado (United States)

A BJ Audio Review: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton, Narrated by Iggy Toma

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

NeverAHero_AudiobookEveryone deserves a hero.

Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.

Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.

Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself and for Nick.

Although this is book five of the series, it’s the first one that I read or listened to, and I can vouch that it works wonderfully as a standalone. It’s my third read by this author, and I enjoyed it as much as prior experiences. I really need to remember and read more from her in future.

Although there was some angst, this story wasn’t dark despite that both characters had issues to deal with. It was well-written and thoroughly enjoyable story with characters caught my interest right away and made me care.

With one exception at the very end, I adored and felt so intensely for Owen. While some may feel that Owen’s mother was too over the top negative to be real, trust me, she’s not. I have had similar people in my life, so I recognized the type immediately and wanted to hug Owen. At least he had his father, and although it would have been nice if he’d been more of a shield, I could mostly understand. Listening to the story of Owen slowly coming out of his shell and blossoming into the person he should have been was beautiful. His story spoke to me because it showed so clearly how it isn’t only abuse that can have lasting effects on our lives, but that the words said to us as a child can affect our confidences and how we perceive ourselves and our abilities for the rest of our lives. Another thing I know first hand and struggle with each day myself.

As for Nick, I loved because he’s a vet and fellow dog lover as well as how good he was for Owen. How he showed him acceptance and helped him to find out he was a worthwhile person with no reason to hide away. But being one who isn’t a fan of secrets, his keeping one did bother me, especially in how long he let it go on despite his obvious attraction to Owen. Yes, he should have shared sooner, but none of us are perfect, and so I forgave him.

The secondary characters were well done and have made me interested in reading more of this series to learn their stories. But when I realized that all of the books are narrated by Iggy Toma, who narrated this one, I’ve decided that it’s the audios format I want to experience. He definitely brought another level to the experience. His voice is extremely easy to listen to, and he did an exceptional job of creating the sense of the various characters as well as putting emotion into the words he read.

If there was one thing that kept it from being a full on five stars for me, it was the ending of the epilogue. It just seemed so out of character to me, and what I believe was supposed to be humor, fell flat for me.

Nice cover by L.C. Chase with subdued pleasant colors and enough of the story woven into it through the images while at the same time consistent to the style of the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes


Book Details:  

Audiobook
Published April 29th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published May 13th 2013)
Original TitleNever a Hero
SeriesTucker Springs #5
CharactersOwen Meade, Nick Reynolds settingTucker Springs, Colorado (United States)

A BJ Audio Review: The Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool #2) by Lisa Henryand J.A. Rock/Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

The Merchant of Death audioAll’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man. 

I enjoyed the second installment of this humorous romantic suspense story much more than the first. While there was still banter and humor, I felt this one had more of well, everything that I love. More romance, more suspense, more depth, and definitely more heat.

Very much enjoyed the mystery/suspense element of the book. Adored the cross-dressing and touch of kink! But it was getting to see the layers of Henry/Sebastian coming to light, getting to meet Viola and learn more of his past and what made him into who he is, that was what I loved. Also was pleased at where this book picked up without a big time gap after the previous one.

The care-home drama/mystery leads seamlessly into the next twist. And while we do have another cliffhanger, but this one didn’t actually rub the wrong way as much as the first. Perhaps that was due to the fact that it wasn’t accompanied by cock-blocking—or perhaps it was just that I liked those last several lines quite a lot.

Nick J. Russo’s narration was once again spot on and captivating. The character voices were distinct and well done. Definitely a case where the narration adds an extra layer to the experience of the story.

The brightly contrasting simple cover design works perfectly, and it’s refreshing not having a couple of guys or naked torsos on the cover.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible, Amazon, iTunes


Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 6 pages, 5 hrs 29 mins
Published March 15th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 31st 2015)
ASINB01CYN3RAU
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #2 settingIndiana (United States

A BJ Audio Review: Long Time Gone (Hell and High Water #2) by S.E. Jakes, Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Long Time Gone audiobookWhen a tornado meets a volcano, nothing is safe.

Soldier of fortune Prophet Drews always worked alone—until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learned the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.

Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet’s been stuck in Tom’s head—and heart—too.

Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is hard enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done.

Once again, I enjoyed the narrator’s performance and felt he added extra dimension to the story with the accents and drama he brought. The voices for each character were clearly discernable and well in character with the guys as  I’d envisioned from having previously read this book. His pacing was never rushed and kept me eager to listen.

From the beginning, this story is a roller coaster ride of nature’s fury, sex, intrigue, secrets revealed, action, and more sex. My favorite scene in this book by far is the hurricane sex scene in New Orleans. In fact, it’s right up there as one of the most memorable sex scene’s I’ve read in a m/m story. Oh my, that is definitely a one-handed read or listen, in this case. Tom and Prophet were already combustible together, but put them in the midst of a raging storm and the hurricane around them pales into perfect background music. Damn, that was hot as heck. Aside from that scene, there are numerous other heated interludes. IMHO, just enough to keep that fire burning without being too much.

Here we delve very strongly into Tom’s past in the bayou; allowing us to get a much better picture of the man as we see it all unfold. I won’t reveal too much more than the blurb has already shared as don’t want to spoil it. But we meet some characters in this story that I found very interesting. And the settling! New Orleans and the bayou country has always been a place I’d like to spend a longer time visiting (been there only briefly), and this book did an excellent job of making me feel the heat, humidity, social climate and wildlife. Excellent sense of place.

I felt the deepening of the connection between Tom and Prophet, and it seemed to build very naturally as both men begin to let down their guards and allow each other further in. The ending didn’t tie things up with a bow, but thankfully it was a bit more of a HFN than we got in book one at least. It seems as much as we learn about these two, the more there is we don’t yet know.

Cover art by LC Chase: The displays the tattoos on Tom’s back this time, not quite as detailed as the dreamcatcher on book one’s cover, but still hot and fitting to the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon


Book Details:  

December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios, 7 hrs 52 mins
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published October 28th 2013)
Original TitleLong Time Gone
ASINB016OXU8WQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #2, Extreme Escapes, Ltd. setting

A BJ Audiobook Review: Catch a Ghost (Hell and High Water #1) by S.E. Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Catch A Ghost AudiobookEveryone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

If you enjoy alpha males and need heat in your m/m books, look no further! Grab this series right the heck now! If I had three words to describe this story, they would be “intense” and “flaming hot.”

Prophet and Tom together are like a volcano gouging out steam and flames and hot, sizzling lava. Okay, yeah, sometimes the refractory time is really short and their uh, hardiness borders on unrealistic. But there is no doubt at all about their chemistry, and both are well-realized characters with complex backstories which come strongly into play in this series. A few times the backstory on Prophet got a bit complex for me to follow easily, especially given the often fast pace of the storyline. There were a lot of people and details and twists and turns to keep track of… especially as it neared the end. This ending is left largely unsettled as far as the relationship, so its not a HEA/HFN. But  it totally makes me want to read on in the series and get to know what happens with these guys.

I’d already read the book and rated it four stars, but since I’d purchased but not yet finished reading the whole series, I was intrigued when it came out on audio. The narrator was new on audible, but I decided to take a chance and see if the narration would add another dimension to this previously enjoyed story. It totally did! I adored Tom’s Cajun accent… and both men sounded pretty much as I’d imagined. I had no trouble telling the speakers apart. It’s sometimes hard for me to say whether I prefer the audio or reading experience, mostly because only rarely do I partake of a story in both formats. Overall, I enjoyed the audio and the one small part where I felt the book was a bit better had pretty much nothing to do with the narrator. Near the end, in the parts there’s a part where a lot is going on, it was even harder for me to take in and visualize when heard than when reading. Probably because in print, I can read back over a sentence here or there if there’s a need to ground myself more firmly in the details. Since I’m most often driving when listening to audio, rewind isn’t something I do.

The audiobook cover is basically the same as the book… and it’s perfect for the story. The tattoo is just as imagined and love the nipple bar! Beautiful, sexy, hot cover.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon |  Audible  | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 9 pages, 8 hrs 3 mins

Adam North (Narrator)
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published September 7th 2013)
Original TitleCatch A Ghost
ASINB016DW5VUC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #1, Extreme Escapes, Ltd.December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios