A Lila Audiobook Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

Ante Up is a different type of paranormal story. When the majority of the characters are vampires, not all the traditional troupes are followed. I enjoyed those differences and Ante’s Croatian background. The number of details worked well for the story and added to its depth.

The author did a nice job making Ante unique. He’s not the traditionally rich, alpha vampire with a legion at his feet. He’s a down the mill hustler whose only worry is where to be at sunrise. He’s comfortable living in the fridges and doesn’t believe in causing harm to survive. Most of the men he feeds from are as lonely as he is, and their times together are beneficial for both of them.

Enters Peter to change Ante’s organized life. With his quick charm and good looks, he brings out Ante’s curiosity. He’s not sure about his heritage or his powers but he tries to keep both under wraps. Just like Ante, he’s not the traditional hero, but it works for them.

The more time they spend together, the more they discover about themselves and other paranormals. The descriptions, settings, and new characters are interesting and only added to the plot.

The meeting and battle at the end felt a bit rushed. After so many details, it was unexpected to have such a simple resolution. Overall, it’s a good story if you are looking for more than sparkling vampires.

The narration by Andrew McFerrin worked well with the story. The characters came to life and he showed Ante’s slight accent.

The Cover by Aaron Anderson follows the Dreamspun Beyond style and has a depiction of Ante.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Length:  5 hours 52 minutes

Published: January 12, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B078YC6477
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Narrator: Manuel Pombo

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

One moment Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger shifter he would rather strangle.

 

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world where he belongs. On their journey they might discover why the priestess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

 

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this story but I did enjoy it.  Khalon is appalled at the idea of mating with a human and he does not disguise this while Riley is just trying to figure out what is going on.

 

Khalon pretty much just acts like a spoiled brat to Riley and their situation.  Even when Riley sees the sweet side of him it’s hard to really start to like him.  I could feel Riley’s confusion about the situation and what would you expect but those around him seemed to think he needed to adapt faster.  The characters started to grow on me some more as the story went on.

 

Manuel Pombo did a nice job narrating this story.  I could get a feel of the characters’ emotions while listening.  The different voices he used for the characters helped me keep up with what was going on.

I love the cover art by LC Chase is nice and seems to work well for this story.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 3 hrs 27 min
Published: January 10, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Soldati Hearts #1

A Lila Audiobook Review: Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Finding Mr. Wrong is a sweet second chance story. It has two unlikely cupids and a list of qualities a good husband should have. In the end, Matt will find all those in the less likely place and with the last person he would have expected.

The author did a great job letting the reader know how important Jax and Matt were to each other since the moment they met. By the time they see each other again, the reader is ready for them to have their happily ever after. It’s easy to cheer for them.

Even when the plot and the bases of the story are somewhat traditional, the main characters’ jobs and backgrounds bring them to the front, having those aspects carry the story. They are well written and interesting to get the reader wanting more with each page.

Andrew McFerrin did a nice job bringing all the characters to life. I especially enjoyed Jax’s characterization and the differentiation between the rest of the clan.

The cover by Bree Archer is an adaptation of the e-book cover and follows the traditional Dreamspun series style. I only wish the model looks were a bit more realistic.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Length: 5 hours 46 minutes
Published: December 22, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B078JVWSHT
Edition Language: English

 

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

 

Things are going well for androgynous model Ollie Petroskovic, ex-Marine Kade Alme, and their business, Haven Investigations, until rock star Jacob Elias shows up in need of their services… and trouble follows.

 

Jacob is a playboy with a serious penchant for kink, slaves, and sex toys. He’s also Ollie’s ex—and all that implies. With the media exploiting his personal life, a stalker sending blood-soaked “gifts,” a bumbling security team, and a family he can’t trust as far as he could throw them, Jacob is in desperate need of a bodyguard for his latest tour, and Kade can’t refuse.

 

While Kade deals with new doubts about his partnership with Ollie and struggles with reminders of his war injuries, Jacob’s stalker escalates from blackmail and threats to murder. As Kade and Ollie work to keep Jacob safe and find the culprit behind the attack, a web of family secrets, lies, and abuse slowly emerges, leading up to a final confrontation that they might not walk away from—and that will have lasting repercussions for Kade and his relationship with Ollie.

 

I have to start this off with saying I really really dislike cliffhangers and this book ended with a big one.  Ollie and Kade are still working on figuring out their relationship and throwing Jacob into the mix doesn’t help either of their insecurities.  I’m hoping that in the next book they will get that much more comfortable and confident in their connection.

 

This story was told from Kade’s point of view, which gave a bit of a different perspective from Ollie’s in the last book.  Kade is pretty good at reading people so it makes it easy to understand Ollie right along with him.  However, as with the last book both of them have low self-esteem and spend so much time worrying.  I was wrung out after listening to the first two thirds of the book and had to wait a little bit to finish it.  The big mystery from the first book of Nathan’s death was mostly put on the back burner for this story and I’m sure it will get summed up at some point but I didn’t think that pretty much just ignoring it in this book was the right thing to do either.

 

Brian Hutchison did a good job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the characters and actions in the book through his use of different voices and emotions.  I think he portrayed Jacob’s ego and insecurities pretty well.

 

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is nice and follows the pattern of the series.

 

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 9hrs 47min
Published January 4, 2018 (ebook first published October 7, 2016) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Haven Investigations #2

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: ​Lost and Found by Rick R. Reed and Narrator: Michael Neeb

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.

Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that’s just what Flynn experienced.

A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.

Rick R. Reed loves dogs, being happily owned by one himself.  And it shines through every story of his that has a canine element to it.  It’s especially clear in Lost and Found where a beagle, named Barley or Hamburger depending upon the person,  provides the bridge to romance, love, and HEA.

Here one Barley gets lost by one Flynn, found by Mac he turns into Hamburger.  One beagle beloved by two men.  But when Flynn happens upon  his beloved beagle in the  company of Mac, all the lost,, the  pain and guilt involved in not being able to find his Bailey comes rushing back.  And of course, Mac doesn’t want to lose his “Hamburger”.

Reed does a wonderful job of portraying the angst and battle involved when it comes down to our feelings for our animals.  They are an important part of us and recognizing that fact helps us understand Mac’s actions better.  We can at least empathize a little even as we recognize that he took the wrong path and then couldn’t stop.

I appreciated the slow approach to romance between the two main characters but wish that Reed had given us more insight into Flynn or at least as much as he did with Mac.  It would have helped make Flynn’s ease in decision making towards the end more grounded and realistic.  I wanted to know more about his job and how he felt about it and his friends.  Instead we are heavy on Mac’s side of the story and it sort of feels off kilter at the end.

Narrator Michael Neeb does an incredible job with the voices and the story.  I fell effortlessly into Lost and Found, pulled into the characters that Neeb’s voice created for me along with Reed’s heartwarming, sweet tale of  two men, one happy beagle and their HEA.

Cover art: Reese Dante.  I love this cover.  It’s just perfect for the characters, and storyline.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible |iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 4 hours and 52 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Audible.com Release Date: December 28, 2017
Language: English
ASIN: B078MQ29SR

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Long and Winding Road (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #4) by TJ Klune and Sean Crisden (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

 

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

 

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

 

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

 

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

 

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

 

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

 

This was a nice conclusion to this series.  Bear and Otter finally got the chance to do something for themselves after so many years of selflessness.  It was great to see everyone again and see how their stories continued.

 

It was easy to connect with the characters as we’ve been seeing them for years.  Which brings me to the one thing that I didn’t enjoy about this story, the first third of the book pretty much recapped the first three books and I guess I didn’t expect that; maybe a little but not to that extent.  I loved seeing Bear and Otter grow their family and really grow into their own some more.

 

Sean Crisden did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters 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 even if I didn’t like the whiny quality to some of the voices he used..

 

Cover art by Paul Richmond is very nice and follows the basic pattern from the series.

 

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 10 hrs 23 min
Published: December 19, 2017 (ebook first published August 11, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Bear, Otter and the Kid #4

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church and Narrator: Dorian Bane

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

To be loved by a dragon is to be treasured.

A hundred years ago, werewolf Alpha Montgomery took a risk driven by desperation—he borrowed money from the ancient dragon Warwick Ehecatl, putting up the pack lands as collateral. Now the debt is due, and dragons don’t forget—or forgive. Warwick demands Montgomery’s son, Avery, and three businesses as compensation. As an Omega, Avery knows he is basically useless to his pack, so he might as well agree. He soon has second thoughts, though. Warwick is fearsome, and he’s free to do as he likes with Avery.

Warwick knows his race’s reputation, and he even admits some of it is deserved. But he’d rather cut off his tail than let his innocent mate’s light go out. It won’t be easy, but buried deep, there’s something between them worth safeguarding.

I really enjoyed this story.  Though the circumstances weren’t great for getting Warwick and Avery together you never know if they would have ever really met in any other way.  Dragon’s don’t normally mate so Warwick doesn’t understand his insistence that Avery is theirs but he isn’t going to fight what he feels.

First off, Avery’s father was an idiot if he thought he would be able to get away without paying back his debt.  I loved Avery’s innocence but also that he didn’t let other preconceived notions keep him from being who he wanted and Warwick did a wonderful job showing him that he didn’t see him like those in his pack did.  It took a little for Warwick to open up but form the beginning he wanted to do what was right for Avery and treat him well.  While there were times when points were made multiple times, which usually is one of my biggest pet peeves, I really liked this story.

Dorian Bane 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.  He also portrayed the haughty attitudes of many of the characters well.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is very nice and gives a nice visual of Warwick.

Sales Links: Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 54 min

Published: December 12, 2017 (ebook first published February 27, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Beyon

A Kai Audiobook Review: Nachos & Hash (Mary’s Boys #1) by Brandon Witt and Dominic Carlos (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

Well guys, I really liked this story! It had some characteristics that I tend to when reading an MM, since as: not slow paced, good characters, involving plot… So basically this one would be a killer, right? Well, for the most part yes, but then it was a little rushed sometimes and also in the end there were things missing. I guess it was a HFN story, but I was so expecting a HEA in this one.
 I liked the characters complexity and loved to see them growing in an out of the relationship. I also liked the supporting characters and I can’t wait to see their own stories.
The narrative was truly well done. Dominic Carlos did an amazing work giving life to the characters and transporting me to this novella’s world in no time.
If you are looking for a fast paced, interesting, fluid and low angst story, I recommend this one. 
Have a good reading and happy 2018 for all!
Cover artist: Angsty G.  Love the bright cover, its perfect!

Sales Link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:
 
Series: Mary’s Boys: Book 1
Written by: Brandon Witt
Narrator: Dominic Carlos
Release Date: November 22, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Length: 3 hours, 30 minutes

A Lila Audiobook Review: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna #5) by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?

Fool of Main Beach is a sweet story about simple love and friendship. As with the rest of the books in this series, it’s also sexy and interesting. It takes a minute to get reacquainted with Merle and to remember him from previous books, but after that, it’s easy to follow his story.

This is a hurt/comfort book and Tom and Justice complemented each other with all their differences. Tom’s truthful ways are refreshing in comparison to Justice’s jaded views. In their case, taking the time to talk helped their relationship and allowed them to recognize what they needed from each other.

We get enough time with each main character to understand the decisions they take and how they move forward. All the individual events and conversations are important to understand the MCs’ reservations. Overall, they work as a couple.

There’s a lot happening and the plot goes beyond the main romance. It ties the series together and shows Tom’s and Justice’s family relationships. In Justice case, he learns more about himself and what he needs. And Tom finally sees all his positive qualities. Plus, we can’t forget how all the characters from the previous stories helped guide the new couple.

K.C. Kelly has done a nice job keeping all the characters from previous books up to par and adding new ones. It’s easy to hear the differences between them, bringing all the stories together. Plus, we get to learn more about the main character through his interpretation.

As always, the cover by Reese Dante fits the book. It’s simple but interesting enough. And it makes more sense after reading the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Length: 9 hours and 17 minutes

Published: November 4, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B0774TGFHW
Edition Language: English

Series: Love in Laguna
Book #1: Knight of Ocean Avenue
Book #2: Knave of Broken Heart
Book #3: Prince of the Playhouse
Book #4: Lord of a Thousand Steps
Book #5: Fool of Main Beach

An Ali Audiobook Review: Buried Bones (Bones #2) by Kim Fielding and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Werewolves don’t have a how-to manual—nor do men embarking on a new life together. 

It’s been a few weeks since Dylan Warner wolfed out and killed Andy, the crazed werewolf who originally turned him and later tried to murder Chris Nock. Architect Dylan and handyman Chris are still refurbishing Dylan’s old house as they work out the structure of their relationship. They come from very different backgrounds, and neither has had a long-term lover before, so negotiating their connections would be challenge enough even if Dylan didn’t turn into a beast once a month. 

To make matters worse, Dylan’s house is haunted, and events from both men’s pasts are catching up with them. Dylan has to cope with the aftermath of killing Andy, and Chris continues to suffer the effects of a difficult childhood. 

In his quest to get rid of the ghost, Dylan rekindles old friendships and faces new dangers. At the same time, Chris’s father makes a sudden reappearance, stirring up old emotions. If Dylan and Chris want to build a lasting relationship, they’ll have to meet these challenges head-on.
This is the second book in the Bones series and it catches us up with the MC’s from book one.  Dylan and Chris are a couple now and they are working on both developing their relationship and fixing up the old house.  While overall things are going better there is still a problem.  A ghostly one this time. And, in their search to figure out the haunting, they accidentally get themselves involved with a werewolf pack.
Who’s haunting it and why is something they slowly figure out with the help of a psychic grandma who’s not scared of much of anything.  We meet her grandson Ery who is Dylan’s friend and who will be the MC of the next book in the series.
Overall I found this to be a sweet and enjoyable story.  I don’t quite feel the connection between these two main characters that would take this from a series I liked to a series I love.  It’s not a favorite of mine from this author but I still find it enjoyable.  I like the low angst level also.
This audiobook was narrated John Solo and I think he did a good job.  His voices for both of the MC’s were distinct and I also enjoyed the way he did the side characters.  I felt the performance added to the story.
If you enjoyed the first book in this series I think you will enjoy this also.  If you have not read book one you should do that first.  This book does not work as a standalone.
This cover is done by Christine Griffin.  I’m not a big fan of the animated style of covers so this is not a favorite of mine.  I do think the artist is talented and it is a great representation of the story.
Audiobook Details:
Release Date Sep 25, 2017
Type Novels
Length 8:00