A Lila Audio Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

Hiding the Moon is all about Burton and Ernie. I like it, but it didn’t add anything out of the ordinary to the plot. Rating it by itself, I would have given it five stars, As a retelling of A Few Good Fish, I will give it two stars.

Jackson’s & Ellery’s are as integral to the book as Burton and Ernie since we are rereading the previous book in the series from a different point of view. I want it more about the main characters. Perhaps for the story to start after the previous one and not to run parallel. It seems as they’re playing second fiddle in their own story.

As always, there’s a lot of detail and characterization. The flow works, and the moments between Burton and Earnie are worth reading.  In general, is a good bridge for all the related books.

I loved Greg Tremblay narrating the previous books but I didn’t realize the narrator for this one was Nick J. Russo. Which is surprising. Most of the characters’ voices were pretty similar.

The cover by Reese Dante is completely different from the first three books in the Fish Out of Water series. It has a similar air than Racing for the Sun but not enough to to make them cohesive. It is pretty and it goes with the story plot.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 7 hours and 34 minutes

Published:  April 25, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07QYW2FDW
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
Book #4: Hiding the Moon

An Alisa Audio Review: Romancing the Undercover Millionaire (Romancing the… #3) by Clare London and Seb Yarick (narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Can poverty and privilege find a loving compromise?

Alexandre Bonfils, a rich and spoiled second son, is tired of being ignored and decides to help when the family’s exclusive wine business is in trouble. Going undercover in the warehouse, he loves the adventure—and the chance to be close to the sassy and sexy manager, Tate Somerton.

Tate is hardworking and financially struggling, bringing up his siblings on his own. A suspected saboteur at work is his latest challenge, but now he also has a clueless, though very attractive, new intern. There’s an immediate spark between the ill-matched couple, until a shocking accident cuts short Alex’s amateur sleuthing.

While recovering in the generous care of Tate and his family, will Alex realize what belonging really means? Passion and pride come together to fight for the company they’re both committed to preserving, but can a personal bond remain when the dust settles?

I continue to get these stories hoping that I will enjoy them more but continue to feel like they aren’t living up to my hopes, they aren’t bad but I’m not sure they are for me.  Alex is basically a spoiled playboy, with depths that no one knows, but is suddenly foisted from his lavish position with the company.  Tate works hard to keep control of his life and make sure that his employees are taken care of even if it works him to the bone.

I had trouble with how quickly Alex changes his tune when he goes undercover, he finds what he’s been missing down deep but it just seems uncharacteristic.  Tate was leery about the new intern but very quickly seems to get over his hesitation of dating an employee.  I thought Tate’s family was adorable and a bit over the top but they all loved each other.  I didn’t really connect with the two men all that well, I understood Tate’s life much more than Alex’s but all the interactions didn’t add up to me.

Seb Yarrick did a nice job narrating this story.  For the most part I was able to keep up with the story because of the different voices he used but they constantly seemed to get quieter as the story went on that I would have to focus more.

Cover art by Alexandria Corza is nice though the picture doesn’t connect with either character.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 15min
Published: February 14, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Romancing The …

An Ali Audio Review: Handle with Care by Cari Z and John Solo (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

I am always leery about reading books where a MC is a social worker. That’s the field I work in and I drive myself crazy when authors don’t get stuff right.  I decided to give it a try anyways because I’m a fan of this author’s and it includes two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and road trips. 
 
This was well done and I enjoyed it.  Aaron and his best friend take off for Kansas to go to a wedding.  Along the way Aaron has to deal with a variety of insecurities and unresolved issues from his childhood.  Tyler is there to be a support and as they go along they realize that they’re falling in love.
 
The book is fairly short so a lot of the issues were dealt with a bit more superficially than I would have preferred  (I want ALL the angst) but it was still entertaining.  Their romance was lovely and sweet and I really liked them together.  It was one of those book couples you are rooting for.
 
The audiobook is narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a very good job.  I have liked all of his narrations that I have listened to.  I think a good narrator can really add depth and emotion to a story which I feel was the case here.
 
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Alexandria Corza.  I don’t really care for it.  The Dreamspun series has had various formats for the books in it and this format was one of my least favorites. 
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible
Audio Details:
Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 16th 2018)
ASIN1644054906
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Audio Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding and Drew Bacca (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Once I got past of certain stage this story, I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook of The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding as narrated by Drew Bacca. But it did take a bit of time and an admission that yes, this is a work of contemporary fiction, and no drop a certain expectation of reality here.

That started with someone of “rockstar/country star status” heading off   to an unstable communist dictator block associated country like Vasnytsia for a concert and he’s going by himself.  No members of his band, no handlers, no setup crew, no security, especially not his own security in this day and age, and only one person?  Uh no. Eye roll.

That  alone would raise suspicions as to the mission they were on. Can’t do spy missions with an entourage. So dump any idea of a certain authenticity here and just go with the flow.  It made it more enjoyable, at least for me.

Once past that notion, and a certain stumbling steps with the narration, the story took off once we landed in the country of Vasnytsia,  the combination of the peeling back of the layers of true  situation there politically and the slow build of the relationship between Reid and Jaxon was terrific.  I loved the contrast between worlds and the tension sexually and outwardly with the mission.

Then as everything goes haywire the suspense it out of this world and the novel becomes absolutely gripping.  I was totally invested in the characters, the wild ride of emotions and scary undercover mission they were on, and that ultimate moment was out of this world.  It more than made up for the shaky start in my opinion.  I was there with them all the way.

As for the HFN ending?  Sort of perfect because that was the only way I could see it for them.  Now I’m looking forward to more in this series.

As I said the narrator grew on me as did the story.  This is the first audio from Drew Bacca and I will look forward to more from him as well.  I thought he did a good him distinguishing different voices and getting into the story.

I definitely recommend it.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer. The cover really doesn’t do it for me, it’s in the brand style but otherwise eh.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook, 6 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 2nd 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStars from Peril #1
settingEurope

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