A Lila Audiobook Review: Personal Secrets (Personal #3) by K.C. Wells and Narrator: Cornell Collins

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Blake Davis and husband Will are delighted when Ed Fellows turns up at the hospital the night their daughter is born—even if he is covered in mud from playing rugby and drunk out of his skull. Team-mate Colin is the Good Samaritan who drives him there, and when Colin takes Ed home, Colin finds himself on the receiving end of a blow-job. He has no problem with that whatsoever. He’s been in lust with Ed since Ed joined the rugby team some fourteen months ago. Only thing is, Colin’s assumed up ’til now that Ed is straight. Except the man sucking him off certainly didn’t seem straight….

Talk about the morning after the night before…. Ed awakens to find a nearly-naked Colin asleep on his sofa. The problem is that for some reason, he can’t get Colin out of his mind. Okay, so it wasn’t the first blow-job Ed’s ever gotten from a guy—or given, for that matter—but that was a long time ago, right? And why does Ed now want more?

With friends Rick, Angelo, Blake and Will to advise him, Ed finds himself on a completely unfamiliar road, as he struggles to accept that maybe the line he is walking isn’t as straight as he’d first imagined….

Personal Secrets is a lovely romance about two men whose friendship transformed into a blossoming relationship. It wasn’t easy but Colin was more than patience with Ed. Their love was simple and their everyday interactions let the reader see how they fall for each and how Ed changed the more time they spent together.

I enjoyed how naturally Ed’s sexuality evolves during the story and how his friends are there when he has questions. There’s no internalized homophobia or traumatic experience. He acknowledges his attraction for Colin and flows with it. There are some misunderstandings between them, but in the end, they were always willing to talk it through.

The story has many sweet and spicy moments and in occasion, I wanted to skip some of the sex scenes to learn more about the plot, but in the end, it worked considering Ed’s new found interest in men and not so straight sexuality.

Plus, we get several updates on Blake’s and Will’s relationship and Rick’s and Angelo’s. They are part of Colin’s and Ed’s story too, not just a figure in the background. The rest of the cast is excellent and we even get a small villain cameo. Overall, a nice addition to the series.

Cornell Collins did an excellent job with the narration. One of my complaints about book #1 was trying to read Ed’s dialogues. The audiobook definitely added to the appeal and highlighted Ed’s personality and attitude.

The cover by Meredith Russell is different than the e-book version, but it has a similar air. It’s easy to identify Colin and Ed, plus, it adds their love for rugby.

Sales Links:  Amazon | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Cornell Collins
Length: 6 hours 37 minutes
Published: June 12, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Island Tales Press
ASIN: B071ZSX7D4
Edition Language: English

Series: Personal
Book #1: Making It Personal
Book #2: Personal Changes
Book #2.5: More Than Personal
Book #3: Personal Secrets

A Lila Audiobook Review: The President’s Husband by Michael Murphy and Randy Fuller (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

the-presidents-husband audioWhen an assassin’s bullet strikes his predecessor, Grayson Alexander becomes the first openly gay President of the United States and his husband, David Hammond, becomes the first openly gay First Husband. With their world turned upside down, David relies on his career as a medical school professor and ER doctor to keep him grounded. But his decision to keep working ruffles feathers from day one.

Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.

When Gray asks for his help with a public-health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious about what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President’s staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.

The President’s Husband is a remarkable read. If you’re looking for a political thriller, a steamy romance, or a drama, this is not it. This story is solely about the relationship between the newly appointed President of the United States and his husband of ten years.

We get to meet David and Gray during the Presidential Inauguration. The author gave us a hint of their relationship and how comfortable they are with each other. After ten years of marriage, they knew each other well and respected their individual careers and their dedication to them.

David and Gray have a great chemistry that it’s easy to feel during the entire story, even when they weren’t together. They have an active sex life, which the reader gets to hear more about than actually be witness to, but it works with the focus on their marriage. The on-page sex isn’t there to arouse the reader but to complement the couple’s relationship.

The political discussions are minimal since we only get David’s POV. There’s enough to set the stage for the book, but mostly, everything seems separate from the main plot. Yes, politics kept them apart, but the policies and procedures aren’t the main reason for it.

I think they are more medical references and information in the story than politics. The medical crisis David helps Gray with is the main point of content between them. There are a lot of details about what happens during this time, and some parts may be a little monotonous.

There’s a lot of drama involve in this novel, and David takes the center stage. We pass a significant amount of time in his head, making it difficult to get to know Gray. In reality, David is the main character and Gray is just his husband. We don’t get to see the antagonist doing his bidding, just mentions of him. It isn’t until the climax that we get to see the extent of his involvement.

David and Gray interact with a high amount of characters, but we only get to learn the names of a handful. David’s experiences are more important than how he gets them. Gray’s not a strong character, but he’s likable enough. I like David and how he took life by the horns, but he was a bit whiny in certain areas.

In order to enjoy this story, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You have to forget about everything you know about the President and how his family is handled. There aren’t meddling family members or best friends. David takes all his decisions using logic and tries to retain the status quo instead of rocking the boat. And this cost them both deeply.

Overall, this is a story about marriage and how communication is essential in a relationship. They could have solved a lot of problems with a simple conversation, but the rest of the drama is just an added bonus. I’m surprised by the lower rating in this story, but I think is more of a case of expecting a different story.

Personally, I’d had them get a divorce and become friends instead, but that’s just me. I enjoyed their courting and how they fought to be back together. I think Gray’s POV was needed. Plus, I think they were too young for their level of accomplishments.

This is my first story narrated by Randy Fuller. He did an excellent job, not only with the characters’ voices but with the feelings behind their exchanges. Also, I love how mature his voice is. It made it easier to visualize the main characters as older men with established careers instead of young men trying to figure out life. He also incorporated the omniscient narrator and gave it its own tone.

The cover by L.C. Chase goes with the story, but it’s hard to see the two men like David and Gray. There weren’t enough details in the story to have a clear picture of what they look like.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Randy Fuller
Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Published: May 24, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01G2IUW38
Edition Language: English

 

A Lila Audiobook Review: Love Hypothetically by Anne Tenino ~ Narrated by Nick J. Russo

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

LoveHypothetically_AudiobookPaul’s been called many things—graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke—but “forgiving” isn’t one of them. When the new women’s softball coach at Calapooya College specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul’s forced to put aside his strict “no athletes” policy for the sake of his paycheck.

Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul’s high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one—the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor’s come out and retired from baseball, and now he’s looking for forgiveness and a second chance.

There’s no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn’t sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.

Love, Hypothetically is a sweet second chance novella. I read Frat Boy and Toppy about four years ago, but it was easy to remember Paul and his larger than life attitude. As a series, the two stories have a great sense of place and age group. The author did an excellent job bringing the previous characters into this installment.

I’m not a fan of YA or NA, but this book was a good example of the genre done right. The characters acted their age; first as high school students, and then, as young adults. Their story is believable and doesn’t go over the top to get the characters separated or back together. The chain of events that brought them back into each other’s life seems possible.

Both main characters have very defined personalities that stayed true through the story and varied depending on their interaction with other characters. I wanted them to get another chance to happiness from the very beginning, and the pacing of their reconciliation worked for the short format.

Perhaps I wanted a little more, but that happens with every novella. I wished we got more time for Trevor to beg for forgiveness and to see how their future turns out. But since this is only book #2 in the series, I guess we will have a chance to learn a little bit more about them in the next installments.

The hypothetical conversation Paul has is perfect for the story. I can see anyone having that type of exchange with a friend. It was well-written and quirky enough to keep the reader entertain. Plus, his friend attitude added to the color of the story. We get to see how much Trevor means to Paul and how he used this hypothetical situation to open up and think about a solution to his troubles.

Overall, a story that has found a way to stay relevant several years after publication. The plot is universal, and the ‘love conquers all’ theme closes the deal. A sweet summer read.

Nick J. Russo is one of my favorite MM narrators. His voice went accordingly with the characters ages and the rest of the characters’ voices were well-represented. It was easy to be into the story the further it got. The difference between the main characters worked nicely.

L.C. Chase did an excellent job creating a cover that felt young as the characters were when their love story started. At the same time, it includes one of their dates during their rediscovery.

Sales Links: Riptide | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 3 hours and 2 minutes

Published:  June 13, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN:  B01GW5WW3E
Edition Language: English

Series:  Theta Alpha Gamma
Book #1: Frat Boy and Toppy
Book #2: Love, Hypothetically