A Lila Audio Review: A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3) by Amy Lane and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact?

PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit.

But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den.

Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows.

It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

A Few Good Fish is better than Red Fish, Dead Fish. And yes, that’s exactly how I started its review. Another thing I mentioned, that it was best to read Racing for the Sun too. In this case, it’s imperative since Ace’s and Sonny’s part in this book is almost as important as Jackson’s & Ellery’s.

The events in this story take place shortly after the end of book two and gave the reader a view of Jackson and Ellery trying to find some normalcy on their lives. Their day-to-day still involved several cases but they tried to establish some time for themselves as a fairly new couple.

Jackson’s health has an important role in the story as well as his relationship with G*d and Lucy Satan. The book is pack with action and more than enough feels for all to laugh and cry a bit. None can do that better than the author. We also get a glimpse of a possible future in which they work, love, and play together, expanding their family.

Overall, this is one of those stories that is not perfect or all gooey filling but the characterization is outstanding. Jackson, Ellery, Ace, Sonny, Burton, Earnie, and everyone else are incredible characters coexisting in a world where life is not easy but love conquers all.

The short story at the end of the book could be listened at first. It will fill some holes in this story.

It feels like Greg Tremblay narrates these books back to back, without any publication time between them. The characterization is impeccable as always, and he transmits all the feelings the author gave the characters. It’s easy to follow the story, and feel like part of it.

The cover by Reese Dante still quite literal. Same clean lines and elements as the previous two. Perfect for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes

Published:  January 24, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07MXNDT9K
Edition Language: English

Series: Fish Out of Water
Book #1: Fish Out of Water
Book #2: Red Fish, Dead Fish
Book #3: A Few Good Fish

A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates and Colin Darcy (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll. 

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good. 

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

Remy goes through a terrible event and it freezes his ability to write music or be in front of a crowd.  It is his manager, Buddy, who comes up with the idea of sending Remy to the ranch Buddy owns and his son, Jed, cares for.  Buddy couldn’t be less interested in the ranch but he is stubborn (and selfish) and won’t sell it to Jed.  So the idea of hosting a diva singer in exchange for Buddy selling Jed the ranch as well as showing up for Jed’s sister’s wedding and giving her away seems like a good one.

Remy definitely doesn’t seem like a spoiled pop star. He owns a mansion that he rarely spends any time in. He mentions things like his clothes and hair products as a must, but he doesn’t whine or throw a fit about anything. He’s more down to earth than the blurb made it seem.  He definitely isn’t used to not being admired, but he wants to earn Jed’s attention and respect.  He takes to the ranch life so well, learning to ride a horse and work around the place.

Jed is quiet, used to the isolation of the ranch and unwilling to admit that the desertion of his father for Hollywood has affected him so much.  At first he takes this out on Remy because Remy was Buddy’s big break, the boy who had the potential to be a big star.  Potential that was fulfilled and Buddy left the ranch to manage his star without looking back.  As the days go on, however, Jed sees what a good person Remy is and what stress he’s been under.  Jed starts to thaw and teach Remy the workings of the ranch.  TShe two become friends and then turn to more. 

Everything is under the cloud of Remy leaving.  Remy is an internationally famous pop star and his life and world is a million miles away from the isolated ranch in the mountains that Jed loves so much.  They know the time is limited and try to make the best of it.  The wedding of Jed’s sister will bring Buddy back to the ranch and Jed knows that will be the end. 

There is not a lot of angst here although there is that sense of “how can this work” throughout.  We do get Jed acting like a brat who won’t listen, Buddy acting like a major ass and pulling a stunt that proves how selfish he is (as if we didn’t know that from his conversation about Nicky, Remy’s horrible ex-boyfriend, before Remy goes to the ranch) and Remy being his lovely self.   I liked how this got worked out and especially that Remy was the strong one throughout. 

Narration by Colin Darcy had an odd nasal quality at times but mostly worked. This was my first audiobook with him as narrator and I would try another one.

This is a sweet, low key story of two opposites who want to make it work. 

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson. Eyecatching and in the style of sthe Dreamspun Desires series.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published January 3rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 21st 2018)
Original TitleRocking the Cowboy
ASINB07LB5XBH1
Edition LanguageEnglish
settingCalifornia (United States)

An Alisa Audio Review: From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

New York Times best-selling mystery writer Bay Whitman leads the life of a celebrity—at least on the surface. In public he’s self-assured and in control. Women hang on his every word, while men envy his confidence and swagger. But in reality, Bay is a loner. He’s shy and introverted, and his life consists of sitting in a dimly lit room writing his famous Jack Robbins mystery novels. His one vice—gambling. Winning an escort in a poker game will change Bay’s life in ways he never imagined.

Matthew “King” Slater is one of the hottest tickets in gay porn. He spends his days in front of the camera and his nights as a highly paid escort to the rich and famous. Deep down, he craves romance and a real connection, but his past makes it hard to separate the needs of his body from those of his heart. For now, it’s easier to think of sex as just a job. But while doing a shoot in Vegas, King is hired for a tryst at a famous hotel and casino, and his handsome client might blur the line between work and play.

Oh, I really wanted to love this story but I felt there was so much left unsaid and jumping to conclusions that for the most part I was left frustrated.  Bay prefers to be alone and has to build up the courage to be in public to promote his books.  King has shut himself off for years and his first instinct is to run when his heart starts to open up to Bay.

I liked that once these two realized how they felt then they took their time for the most part.  I understood King’s issues but didn’t like how he skimmed over it when it was talked about.  I was glad that Bay fully supported him no matter what but King’s presence was the best support Bay needed to not feel he had to put up a false front.

Kenneth Obi did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to easily keep track of the story with the voices he used for each character.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is nice and gives visuals of the characters.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 3mins
Published: November 29, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

A Lila Audio Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

A Fool and his Manny is an all encompassing book. It brings the previous story lines into one. Reminding the reader of all the unique characters in the series over the years. I have no idea how the author can keep with the events in such a large expanse of time.

Quinlan and Dusty are great together.  It’s easy to see how their relationship evolved over the years. At times, I had trouble believing the age difference between the main characters. They both felt pretty young after they started their relationship.  As if Quinlan has stopped growing up to wait for Dusty.

This is a slow burn, very detailed story. Each tidbit of information plays a part later on, including things from other books. We get to see how the family grows and how Quinlan and Dusty are wrapped in their own little world.

Having everyone and their families show up in this book only added to that sense of family. And the author hinted to the new generation of characters taking over the series.

Overall,  this is a sweet, happy book. With real life events and many coincidences. It keeps the reader engaged even when some parts are a bit slow.

Kenneth Obi is the third narrator for this series and he did an excellent job bringing the characters we love to life. It’s easy to get back into the family and the little quirks that enhanced each character.

Another quote cover by Bree Archer. It gives the reader a little peek on Quinlan.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Kenneth Obi
Length: 6 hours 18 minutes
Published: December 6, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07L4X236Y
Edition Language: English

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny
Book #2: Manny Get Your Guy
Book #3: Stand by your Manny 
Book #4: A Fool and his Manny

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Well, I’m almost at a loss for words for this review.  First of all, I listened to the audiobook and kudos to John Solo for a great job portraying a variety of voices, both male and female, especially given the MCs were teenagers.

Second, I must be honest in that I thought the story ended rather abruptly.  I knew it was first in a series but I didn’t realize so many threads would remain open when the book ended. And suddenly it was over.

And third, the plot was incredibly complex as it dealt with computer programming, coding, and electronic communication. The espionage business is alive and well in this story. So kudos to the author for a complicated and interesting plot.

Theo is a high school hockey player whose parents are both spies. Though only sixteen, his genius is more than welcome in their organization—TOS: Tactical Operational Support—and he’s their go-to guy when the electronics get complex. His code name is Winger, and in this installment, Winger is called upon to stop whatever group is behind the plot to deactivate the tracking devices each agent has implanted. Things go from bad to worse when they find the devices have been taken over and the enemy is using them to mind-control the agents. And that includes Winger’s dad who goes missing. Amidst the espionage plot, Theo and his boyfriend Eddie try to find alone time, though Eddie is injured, while stopping a kidnapping attempt on Theo.  The plot is very complex with mystery, romance, and lots of computer geek speak.

I’d recommend it to those who enjoy a YA story, especially when mixed with espionage and intrigue.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.    The cover is a close-up of a young man’s face and superimposed on the background of that is a computer grid, no doubt in recognition of his talents. It’s gray in tone so not very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, length 6.22 hrs
Published December 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 17th 2017)
Series Codename: Winger #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:Fire and Granite (Carlisle Deputies #2) by Andrew Grey and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When Judge Andrew Phillips’s life is threatened by a criminal who escaped while being transported to prison, Sheriff’s Deputy Clay Brown steps up to protect Andrew 24/7 and each man learns the other is not who he thought he was.  Neither man previously thought highly of the other, having been across the bench in the courtroom many times through the years.  Andrew is not the cold hard persona he presents. And Clay is more than the stern-faced deputy with no personality Andrew perceived he was.

Harper, the criminal who escaped, is Clay’s cousin, not a close connection, but nevertheless, Clay has some insight into their family situation that helps with the case.  In the meantime, just as Andrew finds his house has been ransacked by Harper, he receives a call telling him his sister’s depression is so severe she’s been hospitalized, and she’s named him guardian of her children.  Though upset about his own situation, he rushes to her side. 

And there is the basis for most of the story.  As the men try to hide from Harper and both attempt to comfort the children, they stay with Clay, and both men discover they have feelings for one another. The ups and downs and dramatic turns in the story are mostly centered around Harper and his threatening texts to Andrew and Clay’s attempts to track him down.  There is a small overlap with a few characters from the Carlisle Cops series as Clay works with Red and Carter and Andrew’s niece and nephew play with Carter and Donald’s little boy.  I always enjoy seeing where other characters are in their lives when some time has passed. 

One of the major issues that troubled me, however, is that Andrew revealed to Clay that he’d seen Harper in a park known to be a gay men’s hookup area prior to the trial, but he didn’t recuse himself from being judge. He stressed that he maintained impartiality but it seems to me that would have been a violation of ethics.  The explanation didn’t sit well with me, especially since the convict was convinced Andrew had treated him poorly because of seeing him at the park.

The ending was as sweet as one would expect from an Andrew Grey story and all worked out well. Narrator Greg Tremblay was as outstanding as usual and gave me several lovely hours of listening pleasure.  He doesn’t just read a story—he lives the story, adding drama and humor to the vocalizations where indicated, making his narration top notch. 

The cover by Kanaka features a muscular man wearing a flak jacket with the word police emblazoned at the top. It fits the story nicely.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Listening length: 6 hours and 40 minutes

Audiobook, 7 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 10th 2018)
Original Title Fire and Granite
ISBN 139781641081603
Edition Language English
Series Carlisle Deputies #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review :The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Chef Marcus Vine is a busy man, running his own popular restaurant in the UK and opening another with an investment partner in New York. But he finds time to step in and help out when he realizes his former best friend’s family needs him. Raine died a year ago and her husband, Tom, is struggling to be everything to his two daughters. 

With Marcus’s help and support, their lives take a turn for the better. And along the way, Marcus’s feelings for Tom—unrequited love—take on a renewed life. And then one day, Tom confesses his attraction to Marcus. He’s not gay, of course. That’s reiterated a number of times. So much so, that this reviewer found it distasteful when they went from that declaration to a simple kiss to penetrative sex. If one isn’t gay, why not try frottage or fellatio first? It just felt wrong and rushed. 

And then, of course, when Tom realizes Marcus has feelings for him, he backs off, and Marcus finds out he’s seeing a woman. So we have the heartbreak action, and the crisis comes when one of the girls needs medical attention and Marcus saves the day. But is Tom grateful? Nope. Now we have the period of breaking off, cooling down, and then the finale with the grand sweeping gesture. And the ending was… There’s not really a way to describe it. Granted, I was listening to an audiobook, but it seemed really bizarre to me—definitely from the pages of an old-fashioned dime novel romance.

Granted all these stories are based on old tropes. And granted, audiobooks pass quickly and there’s no chance to reread sections for clarity, so I could be wrong in my assessment. However, I will say that Seb Yarrick did a nice job on the narration. With a very British accent, he brought authenticity to the feel of the story. But I’m not a fan of gay for you when the character refuses to identify as anything but straight, even after sex, so I can’t rate this higher than 3 stars. As it is, the 3 stars were mostly earned by the narrator.

The cover by Aaron Anderson is a typical Dreamspun cover, with the circle in the center that, in this case, features a handsome man in chef’s coat in front and a man in a bathtub in the background. That is definitely not a scene from the story, but at least the colors are bright and the guy is attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | AmazonAudible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published August 7th 2018)
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Manuel Pombo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was a fairly short audiobook but it was long on enjoyment.  A different take on shifters, Charlie Cochet brings us tiger shifters (of course—big cats are her favorites!), but they are from a different world—a world of magical creatures and warriors who defend humanity from the darkness. 

Riley Murrough is just a regular guy and as he’s going about his work one day he’s suddenly in a life or death struggle with demons. Who knew?  When the battle is over and he realizes he’s been helped by a group of tigers who shift to human form, he’s sure he’s dreaming.  But the tattoo that has appeared on his arm matches that of the king of these creatures—the Soldati King, and Riley is his Prince, his lifemate. 

No insta-love here, however, as Khalon, the king, denies his connection to Riley.  He has his reasons and though Riley finally faces facts and realizes he needs to accept the rejection, the magical realm has different plans for them. 

This was a lively adventure, a bit too short to get into a lot of detail, but certainly enough detail to whet my appetite for more.  I’ve already moved the next book in this series to my TBR.   

The narration was good, though it could have been better. Manuel Pombo had a very pleasing voice but his narration was quite fast—almost as if he was rushing to finish by a short deadline.  And the differentiation between the two MCs was sometimes noticeable, and other times not. I think over time, I will come to like this narrator, especially if the narrative is slowed down a bit.

The story itself was interesting and the characters engaging, including the secondary characters, two of whom will be featured in book two.  They were both very positive, upbeat and often humorous throughout this story so theirs is one I must read.  Overall, this was a nice treat and I recommend it to lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance. 

Cover art: L.C. Chase.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 2nd Edition
Published January 10th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 25th 2015)
Original Title The Soldati Prince
ASINB078TLPLJ1
Edition Language English
Series Soldati Hearts #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review : Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TJ Klune has the most incredible imagination of any author I know.  I’m at a loss for words to describe just how phenomenal this story was.  No wait… Let’s call this a saga, not a story, because that’s truly what it is and we are only midway through this unique experience. The author recently announced that he has plans for two more books in the series and the epilogue gives us a clue as to what the next one will be.  OMG!  I can’t wait! 

Gordo Livingstone is a witch.  In fact, he’s the witch for the Bennett Clan and he’s the soulmate of Mark Bennett, uncle of Joe, the current alpha.  We met these two star-crossed lovers in book one, Wolfsong. This is their story.

Through intermittent flashbacks, the author cleverly lets us see how Gordo’s life was shaped—his evil father who killed his mother when she killed his father’s tether, a woman with whom he was having an affair.  His mother always taught him that wolves can’t be trusted. They need you and use you but don’t really love you.  Though he might scoff at that lesson intellectually, she managed to ingrain the lesson emotionally. 

Gordo thought he was done with the pack when they all moved away and left him behind. Their departure cemented his mother’s lessons deep in his heart.  Now they are back and Gordo tries to ignore Mark Bennett with every breath he takes. It’s not easy.  In fact, the song between his raven and Mark’s wolf is crying to be heard.  When outside forces intervene in the quiet town of Green Creek and hope is at its lowest, the Bennett pack, assisted by their witch and the humans who support them, gather their reserve strength to fight a battle that must be won. 

I am not going to include any spoilers for this book in my review.  I will say that the plot is complex, with multiple layers of deceit, intrigue, and evil that goes back many years.  There are characters here I love to hate and those I hate to love.  Mark and Gordo seem to be ill-fated and much of the book left me feeling as if my stomach were in knots. But I kept moving forward. Avidly. There’s no way I could turn off this audiobook, even to eat, never mind sleep.  And the ending was worth the wait.

Kirt Graves is as outstanding in his performance of this audio as he was in Wolfsong. The cast of hundreds each has a distinctive voice.  I totally forgot that a man narrated the book when a woman spoke, and I loved the pitch, tone, and accent he assigned to Gordo.  As much as I highly recommend the story itself, I recommend listening to this audio.   It’s beyond description.  A must buy, for sure. 

The cover by Reese Dante is similar to Wolfsong’s cover and features red lettering against a dark gray background with a paw print on the lower corner—a paw print that seems to be clawing the ground as it leaves a trail of gouges in the dirt. 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 21 pages
Published December 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 31st 2018)
Original Title Ravensong
ASINB07L4T61RZ
Edition Language English
Series Green Creek #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

To say TJ Klune is a brilliant storyteller is an understatement. Those who don’t believe need to read the Tales from Verania series. The entire series is a magical epic saga and this last installment, the ending of a story that has wound its magic in and out of my heartstrings was the epitome of amazing.  Now, add to that, the absolutely outstanding audiobook narration from the highly talented Michael Lesley, and there’s not even a stitch of room for improvement.  A superb 18 hours and 27 minutes of entertainment!

Sam of Wilds returns from the Dark Woods to find that Prince Justin and Ryan Foxheart, his beloved cornerstone, are leading a resistance movement along with (the dreaded) Lady Tina and, of course, Gary and Tiggy.  The city of Lockes has fallen and dark wizard Myrin is in control. But not for long—Sam and his dragons are back.

Unfortunately, Sam has to face the consequences of running away from the chaos he left behind.  And though he loves Ryan and can’t wait to see him, Gary and Tiggy come back first—and Gary is fit to be tied—though he does get diverted from his tirade by his one true love—Kevin the charming dragon.

I honestly don’t know which of the million or so character voices Michael Lesley used is my favorite.  Topping the list, though, is Kevin, who not only has a deep-toned Scottish accented voice, but what he says is always sexually explicit and totally inappropriate and, of course, hysterically funny.  Second to that is Darren, the fairy king.  Yes, the entire cast of characters from the series makes an appearance at one point or another in this book, and I loved every moment.  Another plus to listening to this on audio is Michael Lesley’s talent in bringing in other sound effects like turning pages in a book, creaking doors, roaring dragons, and tons more.   

The final chapter and epilogue are well worth the wait to get there.  I hope other readers were as surprised as I was by Myrin’s fate and the return of someone special to Sam’s life.  And speaking of Sam’s life…well, maybe not…no spoilers here.  All I can say is don’t miss a chance to listen to this book, no—entire series—on audio. You won’t be disappointed.  Very highly recommended.

Cover by Paul Richmond is a swirling galaxy of stars shaped like a dragon—the perfect depiction for a perfectly wonderful story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 19 pages
Published November 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 27th 2018)
Original TitleA Wish Upon the Stars
ASINB07KGHZ5XC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTales From Verania #4