A Lila Audiobook Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Forgotten Paradise is a quick summer read with a delightful love story. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the company of great characters and an easy going, but interesting plot.  The traditional troupes of this series let the reader’s imagination free and into a travel adventure.

Adam and Jonah are both “bigger than life characters.” They live in that imaginary bubble with all want to believe in. The spin on the amnesia plot brought the two parts of the story together–the vacation and their real lives.  I enjoyed the time the author took making each part unique.

There are a lot of descriptions about the settings, the diving trips, and Adam’s vacation. It was a bit overwhelming at times, but it added to the color of the story. The romance itself is the central part, but the small twists and turns framed the story well.

One thing I appreciated about the story was the path Adam and Jonah followed. They both grew as individuals and businessmen. And their HEA work well with the rest of the story.

Andrew McFerrin did a remarkable job with the narration. My only complaint comes from the accents of the Dominican characters. They really didn’t sound the part, but overall, it was an enjoyable work.

The cover by Bree Archer matches the series and Jonah’s description. A bit generic, but it follows the format.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Length: 5 hours 49 minutes
Published: June 1, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B071LTJB8J
Edition Language: English

A Lila Audiobook Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Bonfires is a lovely story with mature characters and well-behaved teenagers. The best part is that everyone acted their age and the plot, even when a little fantastic, move forward following an interesting set of developments and real love and family relationships.

This is not only a romance but a bit of a mystery with the added drama of small towns. We have several story lines running parallel and in normal Amy Lane fashion everyone in town, including the animals play an important part in the plot and the MCs’ love story.

Everyday events, like breakfasts & homework, are well-mixed with Larx’s and Aaron’s developing relationship. They not only get to know each other but those around them before and after they met. Their pasts are as important as their present and how they want to shape their future.

I did want to see more alone time between the main characters. They spent a lot of time just solving other people’s problems and dealing with their families. I wanted a bit of downtime for them to really have a chance to discover each other without interruptions or expectations.

Overall, this is another hit by this author. It’s the proverbial big book of everything, but as always, it works.

Nick J. Russo did an excellent job giving all the characters a unique voice. It was easy to get immersed in the story.

The cover by Anne Cain shows one of the story’s main scene to perfection. It’s a bit different than traditional MM romances, but so it’s the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes
Published: June 9, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B071WQJ72H
Edition Language: English

An Ali Audiobook Review: A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County #1) by Eli Easton and narrator Will Tulin

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.
This was a really lovely stories about second chances and the fact that you’re never too old to reinvent yourself.  These two men, who on the surface had nothing in common, actually found they had a lot of the same hopes and dreams.  What starts as a friendship turns in to a really sweet romance.  I really liked both of their characters and I found their romance to be realistic and believable. I loved watching the two of them fall in love.
While I liked Christie a lot, David is who stole the story for me.  I could totally relate to him as I grew up in a similar environment and I know first hand how stifling and oppressing it can be.  The scenes of him with his National Geographic magazines, always dreaming of other things, made my heart hurt for him.  I was so happy for him when he made up his mind to break free and make huge changes in his life.
The writing was engaging and drew me in from the very first chapter.  As I’ve said, really enjoyed both of the MC’s and I found their romance to be super sweet and touching. I didn’t have any complaints about the book and I went through the entire audio in one day as I cleaned and did yard work.
The book was narrated by Will Tulin and I liked him a lot.  He is a new to me narrator but one I will definitely listen to again.  He get a great job on both of the MC’s as well as all of the side characters.  I think his narration really added to the overall story and I would recommend this.
Cover by Bree Archer:  The cover was done by Bree Archer and I like it a lot.  I think it is eye catching and really beautiful.  It is also a great representation of the story.
Audiobook Details:
Listening Time: 7 hrs 40 min
Audiobook
Published June 7th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published July 1st 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMen of Lancaster County #1

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires #30) by B.A. Tortuga and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

 

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

 

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

 

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

 

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

 

This was essentially a sweet story the biggest problem is that these two don’t know how to communicate, at all.  They have been completely oblivious to each other for years with Hoss actually thinking his best friend really hates him to being gay but still letting him live on his property and spending time together.  Huh?  That just confused me even more.

 

I could see Hoss’s confusion when it came to the baby showing up on his porch, I mean really who would expect a man with no experience with children to suddenly be willing and able to be the care giver to a baby that showed up on his porch?  He and Bradley work well together taking care are the baby and starting to show each other how they feel when they are thrown another curve ball.  And Bradley does what he did in high school, basically runs away to protect himself.  I was glad that they were able to work things out but up until the very end both of them were so unsure of their relationship I had trouble really connecting with them.

 

Dorian Bane did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the story and characters which is always nice.  I enjoyed the different voice he used and he portrayed their emotions and personalities well.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 51min
Published April 25, 2017 (ebook first published March 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Desires

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster

and

Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

 

This is another wonderful story in the At First Sight series.  Paul and Vince are just as wonderful together as they have been in the other stories.  They both love and know each other so well that they can make the other feel better and make their worries go away.

 

Paul is just as hilarious has he has been before and I love hearing how his mind work because it is AMAZING!  His mind can make the craziest jumps but it works for him.  Seeing his whole family, Sandy and Darren just brings everyone together so much more.  I love their unconditional love for each other and how much they support one another.  These stories make me laugh so much, I always feel better at the end and it lifts up my day.

 

Michael Lesley did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters well and feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences with the characters.

 

Cover art by Reese Dante is sweet and understated but I love the simpleness of it for this story.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5 hrs 4 min
Published: May 2, 2017 (ebook first published February 27, 2017)
Edition Language: English

Series: At First Sight #3

An Ali Audiobook Review: Power Bottom? by Rowan McAllister and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Can a pickup line from a stranger completely change the way an ordinary man sees himself?

Adrian wouldn’t have thought so, but after an ugly breakup where his self-esteem took a serious beating, he’s willing to try just about anything to repair the damage… even return to a secluded bar in rural Maryland and the intriguing stranger whose words have been on his mind since they met.

Biker, bouncer, bartender, and tattoo artist, Wyatt is a rolling stone. After fifteen years, he is tired of a life on the run, but he isn’t sure he knows how to do anything else or if he has anything besides a physical relationship to offer.

What’s supposed to be a one-off turns into another and another, and the relationship looks promising until the mob and the FBI come knocking on Adrian’s door.
 
I enjoyed this. It was sweet and sexy all rolled into one. This was an easy read w/no major drama. Just what I was in the mood for. 
 
Adrien and Wyatt meet through a fluke incident and after his life gets upended, Adrien decides to seek Wyatt out again.  The two men couldn’t be more different but they are intensely attracted to each other.  What starts off as sexual, quickly turns into friendship and then romance. 
As the blurb states they both have things going on in their lives and when they end up in the middle of a giant mess complete with mob guys and the FBI they have only each other to turn to.  This part was a bit over the top in my opinion but it was still entertaining.  I was rooting for these two the entire time and was happy to see them get their happily ever after.
This was narrated by Nick J Russo and I thought he did a very good job.  I especially enjoyed the voice he did for Wyatt.  There were a variety of side characters, including women, and they all sounded distinct and well done also.
Overall, I found this a completely enjoyable audiobook and it is one I would recommend.
 This cover is done by Angsty G.  I like this cover a lot and feel like it a great representation of the plot and the characters.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published April 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 19th 2016)
Original TitlePower Bottom?
ASINB06ZY2QLGQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
setting Maryland (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: A Kind of Honesty (A Kind of Stories #3) by Lane Hayes and Seth Clayton (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Music is drummer Tim Chalmers’s great escape and the one thing that’s never let him down. But his band Spiral’s meteoric rise to fame has made it difficult for him to maintain a low profile. Unwanted press pesters him after a public breakup with a volatile ex-girlfriend who loves the limelight as much as he loathes it. Tim’s main goal is to avoid confrontation. However, when a handsome stranger in a dive bar turns out to be someone he might know, everything changes.

Carter Hamilton-Temple might be a successful financial consultant with more brains, sophistication, and charm than most, but he always falls for the wrong guys: closet cases or men with issues. He can’t fight his attraction to tattooed rock star Tim, but can he trust his own judgment? When the thrill of danger combined with a fierce physical connection proves too strong for either man to resist, a quiet liaison away from the public eye and curious friends seems like a safe bet. But some secrets are hard to keep. When rumors threaten to rock his world, Tim realizes it’s time to confront his fear with his own kind of honesty.
This was another entertaining installment to this series.  These two were very different from each other but a really great match.  Their chemistry jumped off the page at the reader.  They meet in Los Angeles while they’re both there on business.  They have a hot one night stand and never expect to see each other again.  Imagine their surprise when they see each other again in New York (where they live) and find out they have mutual friends.
Although they are attracted to each other, Tim is hesitant to get more emotionally involved.  He’s just out of a really bad relationship and he has only been seen in public with women.  He’s not sure what the media will do if he’s seen with a guy.  Also, he was burned very badly in the past by his one and only relationship with a man.  He’s scared to take another chance.
The love story is a slow build up.  They initially start seeing each other just for sex, but scene by scene, they build a friendship that turns in to a love story.  The author does a very good job showing the reader how they fall for each other.
There’s some drama towards the end with Tim’s ex and his overall refusal to admit he’s in a relationship with a man.  Carter was great in this book.  He was so patient with Tim but when he needed to put his foot down he did.  I think these two were my favorite couple in this series so far.
This book was narrated by Seth Clayton and  there is just something about the way he talks that bothers me.  His cadence seems odd to me. I only listened to about 30% of this then I switched to the ebook.  I have a friend though that just loves him so there is a good chance this is my issue alone. If you’re interested in listening to this I recommend you try a sample first to see if you like his voice.
This book is the third in the series and can be read as a standalone.  There are appearance from both couples from books 1 & 2 but there is nothing that would keep you from enjoying this even if you haven’t read those books.
This cover was done by Aaron Anderson.  I liked it a lot.  It matches the other covers in the series really well and it’s eye catching.  It’s also a good representation of the MC.
Audiobook Details:
10 hrs 10 mins
Audible Audio, 11 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 7th 2016)
Original TitleA Kind of Honesty
ASINB06ZYK6PJT
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesA Kind of Stories #3

A Lila Audiobook Review: Whiskey Business (States of Love) by Avon Gale and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder’s ultimate goal is to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.

Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home, in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder is to his tastes.

Whiskey Business is a sweet, simple story of two men searching for their place within their families’ legacies. It has a bit of a supernatural feel, closer to magical realism than any paranormal tint. But overall, it only enhances the reading experience and adds to the town’s legend and unusual inhabitants. All the puns based on the Gallows Grove’s name and history give the story a comedic relief and sense of home.

Most times, I prefer one MC over the other, but in this case, Adam and Ryder are equally loving and interesting. There aren’t the traditional men portrait in most romances and perhaps that adds to their charms. Yes, their story follows a traditional trope, but they add their own spin.

All the secondary characters and the town itself play an important part in this story. It’s a novella with all the components of a well-written novel. There’s no angst or deep sadness, but the MCs longing for a legacy of their own without erasing their families’ achievements is a constant they both dealt with. And to make it all better, we get a very sweet HEA.

This is my first audiobook by Kirt Graves and I enjoyed the distinction he created between the main characters. The play of words he used to highlight the author’s words in this matter and how important the accents were to understand the differences between those living in different part of the state was excellent. The secondary characters were as well developed.

I’m not familiar with Aaron Anderson’s work, but this cover goes perfectly with the story and its simplicity.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 6 hours 14 minutes
Published: April 18, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B06ZYDB6ZV
Edition Language: English

An Ali Audiobook Review: Snowblind by Eli Easton and Narrator: John Solo

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Snow, steam, and secrets.

The latest snowstorm carries something unexpected to the doorstep of Hutch’s secluded Alaskan cabin: a stranger named Jude, the most beautiful man Hutch has ever seen. Jude says he’s in the area for a ski trip and that he fled a domineering lover, thinking he could make it into town. But Hutch is a suspicious SOB and treats his unwanted guest warily. The problem is Jude isn’t just gorgeous, he’s funny and smart and flirtatious.

Two gay men snowed in for three days—things happen. Really good things. By the time the storm clears, Hutch finds himself a little too attached to Jude Devereaux, San Francisco-based male model. But is Jude what he claims to be? Or is he entangled in the secrets Hutch moved to Alaska to escape?
I went into this thinking it was going to be a sweet story because it was part of the Dreamspun Desires series.  It started off in that vein and for the first third or so of the book it was what I was expecting.  Two guys trapped in a cabin together and while they wait out the storm they start to fall for each other all while getting down and dirty.
Then it had a big twist that I didn’t see coming.  It took the story in a whole new way and I thought that was a great thing.  I don’t want to say more about that because it would be a big spoiler but it made the story turn into a fast paced adventure as well as a romance.  The guys get their hea but not before the author takes us on a wild ride.
I loved both Jude and Hutch’s characters and their chemistry was great.  It jumped off of the pages.  They were very different personalities but they really fit together well.  The epilogue in particular was heart warming and I loved seeing the happiness they finally found.
This was narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a very good job on both of the MC’s as well as all of the side characters.  He was easy to listen to and I never had a hard time figuring out which MC was talking.
I really enjoyed this story and definitely recommend it.  It was also a well done narration so if you listen to audios, I think you will enjoy it.
Cover by Bree Archer:  This style of cover overall would not be my number one preferences but I think it’s really well done with the theme that the publisher has going on.  It’s also a good representation of Hutch and the overall plot.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Listening Time: 5 hrs 39 min
Audiobook
Published April 5th 2017 (first published March 1st 2017)
Original TitleSnowblind
Edition Language English
settingAlaska (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer and Daan Stone (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.

Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.
I just read this book about a month ago and loved it. 

When I had the chance to review the audiobook I jumped at it and I’m really glad I did. First off, the narrator, Daan Stone, was super good. I had never listened to him before but he’s now on my radar because his narration was flawless. It was a 5+ stars.

As I’ve already said, I loved this book on the first read. The writing style is very unique. It’s lyrical and poetic and something about it just drew me in and held me from the beginning till the end of the story. This time I was able to go through the story more slowly (I’m a fast reader). The narration made me pace myself and I found there were things I had not caught the first time through. I also found the narration to make the story more emotional and I found my eyes filling with tears more than once (which I did not do when I read it).

The plot of the story is one we’ve seen before, an age gap between teacher and student. This was done differently though. It seems all of the age gap books I’ve read before have had the older person worried about the age difference and the younger one adamant that they know what they want and they have no concerns about it. In this, Ruben, the younger of the two, falters. He knows he cares for Henry and he knows he wants to see him and have sex, but he also knows he’s a kid. He wants to go to college and party and sleep around and do fun things that most of us do/did during this time of our lives. So while this story is definitely a love story, it’s also a coming of age. Ruben has a lot of lessons to learn and unfortunately he hurts others and himself along the way.
The story is told in a quiet way. A lot of it is based on conversations. A lot of it is told through stories that the characters tell each other. Some of it is told through newspaper columns and post cards. Everything that happens in this story matters. You need to pay attention because everything will circle back at some point and you’ll have these “ah-ha” moments. (You probably won’t ever be able to eat apple pie again without feeling a bit emotional.)

While there is a feeling of melancholy as you read this, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly angsty. It’s more a quiet study of how we come to learn what’s important in our lives and how we learn to put aside our fears to reach for what we want. It looks at the people in our lives and the roles they play and it looks at the importance in the things we hold on to and how they tell the story of who we are.

I am a giant sucker for the “grand gesture” in romance stories and this one tops the chart. There is also a lovely HEA and an epilogue that is just beautiful. I really can’t fan girl enough about this. The writing style is so distinctive that I realize it won’t be for everyone. I personally loved it though and I think both the ebook and the audio were hits out of the ballpark so I recommend either or both.
 
Cover by Bree Archer:  I love the cover.  I always really like black and white cover with a splash of color.  This one in particular I really like because it is a signifies a very important part of the story.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
9 hrs 53 mins
Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published March 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 29th 2016)
Original TitleEveryday History
ASINB06XSMXH4R
Edition LanguageEnglish