A Lila Audio Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

An ATF agent who lives for danger finds what he craves from an outlaw biker.

It’s impossible for a one-percenter motorcycle club member to simply walk away—and no one knows that better than undercover agent Bram, who’s almost killed for trying. His cover isn’t blown—yet—but it’s only a matter of time. The Heathens won’t be satisfied until he’s dead, so he decides to lay low and heal.

But when his younger brother’s disappearance throws a wrench into his plan, Bram ends up in Shades Run, a town ruled by the notorious Havoc MC. In less than twenty-four hours, Bram finds himself at the mercy of Sweet, Havoc’s president, as he throws himself into the undercover role of a lifetime: himself. A man who’s never belonged anywhere, and who will do anything to protect his younger brother.

When finding Linc seems impossible, Bram is torn between Sweet, Linc, and revealing his true identities . . . and there appears to be no way out. Once again, he risks it all trying to save it all. Only this time he’s got no backup to save him if he falls.

Running Blind is better than Running Wild, which is not an easy feat for the second book in a series. This has the author’s signature grit, those characters that are lovely, but a bit damage. It has a perfect mix of sweet (no pun intended) and dirty. It shows the reader how good is between the characters, all of them.

The plot is complex but doesn’t take away from the romance between Sweet and Bram. They are electric since their first encounter and do not cut corners to establish their relationship. The end is a little rush but by them, the reader is ready to get to the resolution and the happily ever after.

There’s a slight connection between the books, and we get to see Rush and Ryke again. They aren’t an integral part of the plot, but they help it move forward.

Overall, this is definitely a must listen for this year.

It took me a minute to get used to the characterizations by Mark Larchmont. He did a nice job creating memorable characters. At some points though, some of the voices seem similar. Especially between Sweet and Bram.

The cover by L.C. Chase matches the crossroads in the story. It also matches the first installment.

Sales Links:  Riptide | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Mark Larchmont
Length: 6 hours and 11 minutes

Published:  February 4, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07N8GYLN7
Edition Language: English

Series: Havoc
Book #1: Running Wild
Book #2: Running Blind

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 Lila Audiobook Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. and Jack Wesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.

Off The Beaten Path is one of the best stories I have read or listened to this year. The actual plot, characters, and settings were fresh and interesting even when it was a shifter story. The world-build goes hand-in-hand with the current time and it’s easy to imagine this semi-dystopian place where werewolves are part of everyday society.

The pacing in the story gives the reader enough information about where the story was heading without missing the opportunity to include small details like smells and the weather. Even the type of cars, electronics, and clothes played an important role without weighting the story down.

The only thing I wanted more of were details about the pack’s life after everything was set and done. How everything changed and how everyone reacted. How they dealt with the changes and the new work—if any—the alphas got assigned.

Overall, this is a perfect story for those who want something different. It has a lovely romance, the right about of smexy times, a lot of flirting, angsts, and drama without taking from the tension and the serious side of the plot. It has great balance and a hit of humor.

The narration by Jack Wesley gave the book the extra push needed to make it four dimensional. It was more than then narration, it was the whole production. From the characterizations to the distinctions when the scenes took place outside or over the phone. Even the video calls had their own distinct feel. It was worth listening to it.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows Ward and Henry in front of a setting that matches the story’s descriptions. It really works.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Jack Wesley

Length:  6 hours 23 minutes

Published: January 12, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B078Y8KP96
Edition Language: English

A Lila Audiobook Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

 

Starting over and falling in love.

 

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

 

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

 

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

 

Turns out, Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

 

Manny Get Your Guy takes place about ten years later than the first book in the series. It took me a minute to get used to the changes in the characters, but a couple of pages in, I was back in their world. It was a refreshing change since most stories end with a HEA and we don’t get to experience their lives afterwards.

 

This story is a classic combination of Amy Lane and Dreamspun Desire. It’s over-the-top, soap opera-like, and perfect for a cute story with more than a simple romance. As readers, we get to be part of Brandon’s and Taylor’s path to happiness, without forgetting how they became the men we met. It’s a slow journey but an interesting one.

 

I like the MCs enemies-to-lovers story and how they fought their attraction in the beginning, even if short lived. Both characters are lovely and their support system complemented their relationship. As always, it’s nice having both POV; easier to see how they fall for each other.

 

The moments between the couples are great but those between Taylor and Brandon felt intimate and awe inspiring. There are lightheaded moments and many embarrassing tidbits. Overall, this is another winner for this author and series.

 

One thing I like about John Solo’s narrations is his consistency. As soon as I heard the voices, I could connect them with the characters in the previous book. He did an excellent job bringing everyone to life and making Brandon and Taylor the center of the story.

 

The cover by Paul Richmond fits the series and shows a happy version of Taylor. It reminds me of one of the characters in Days of Our Lives.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

 

Audiobook Details:

 

Narrator: John Solo
Length: 6 hours 16 minutes
Published: August 10, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B074NCK18W
Edition Language: English

 

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny
Book #2: Manny Get Your Guy

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

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

A Lila Audiobook Review: Lord of a Thousand Steps (Love in Laguna #4) by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

lord-of-a-thousand-steps-audiobookTo architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

Lord of a Thousand Steps is more than I expected. Since Ian has been, mostly, a side character in the previous stories, I was a tad skeptical. Based on the other books, he was set with Rico and that’s about all I needed to know. After reading the blurb, I wasn’t too interested in Braden, but the author surprised me.

Braden ended as my favorite character in the story. Yes, I do have a sweet spot for middle-aged men with kids. And the less experience they have, the best. I love how protective he is of his children and how that mentality extended to include Ian. It’s sweet to see how well they interacted with the kids as if they were theirs to start with. Plus, his business partners, employees, and clients were great.

On Ian’s side, I like how mature he was for his age. But at the same time, he still had naive and youthful hopes that make him an adorable character. Adding Anderson to the mix just gets the whole thing to a new level. I wasn’t a fan of Rico or the parts of the story that involved him. He was more like a reason for Braden and Ian to get together.

All the troupes and over the top events are there and gave the book that air of fiction based on reality this series does so well. I enjoyed seeing Jim & Ken once again—and how big of a part they played in this story. The rest of the guys are back too. It almost felt as a type of farewell for the series even when I don’t know if this is going to be the last book. Everything is going great in their tight group of misfits.

My only complaint about this book is how the job of an architect and how the intern relates to the rest of the company were depicted. Especially when they talked about Ian’s future plans–his licensing, etc. It was a bit unrealistic, but it can be just me since I have been in Ian’s shoes.

K.C. Kelly did a superb job with the characterization, from the women in the story to the children and especially the main characters.

Another winning cover by Reese Dante. It fits the series and the story perfectly. I love seen Anderson as the focal point.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner |  Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Length: 7 hours and 42 minutes

Published: December 12, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01NCK06F0
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

A Lila Audiobook Review: Good Boy (Theta Alpha Gamma #4) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

good-boy-audiobookBrad “Frat Boy” Feller and Sebastian “Toppy” DeWitt have been together for nine months, and their relationship is as hot as ever. The only cloud Brad sees on their horizon is Sebastian’s stress over his thesis. And their uncertain future together after graduation. And how Sebastian sometimes takes Brad for granted. And Sebastian’s unwillingness to introduce Brad to his father.

Other than that, everything’s awesome.

All of Sebastian’s energy is currently devoted to his thesis, and getting into a top-notch PhD program. Fortunately, his boyfriend takes care of all the domestic stuff and Sebastian’s needs. Any minor strain between them will disappear and they’ll return to the status quo after Sebastian graduates. As long as nothing upsets their delicate balance in the meantime.

Then a friend Brad once had a small fling with is forced to take refuge with them, and Frat Boy and Toppy’s delicate balance topples like an elephant on a waterski. Now Sebastian has to face some truths about how he’s been treating Brad, what he wants for their future, and what he has to do to get it.

Good Boy is a BDSM snippet done right. I read Frat Boy and Toppy back in 2013, and really enjoyed Brad’s & Sebastian’s story. Seeing them again in the other books was good, but having them back, in their own story, was more than I expected.

I listen to this story shortly after finishing Sweet Young Thang. That was a plus since we get to see the pivotal scene in this book from Collin’s perspective in the previous book. It’s almost like seeing the whole thing again from a movie-like point of view. The events are simple but essential to their relationship, and the way Sebastian and Brad take care of each other is priceless.

This is a very short, very well-written story with adorable characters. Yes, Sebastian is back in his “bitchy mood,” but just like before, Brad brings out the best in him. It was nice to see that their happily ever after still true.

Nick J. Russo, as always, brought all the characters back to life. The consistency within the series is part of the appeal. He gives Sebastian’s state of mind the perfect tone, and Brad’s concerns the perfect outlet.

L.C. Chase caught the heart of the story with a simple cover and adapted it for the audiobook version.

Sales Links:  Riptide | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 1 hours and 55 minutes

Published: November 1, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B01MDRYNF3
Edition Language: English

Series:  Theta Alpha Gamma
Book #1: Frat Boy and Toppy
Book #2: Love, Hypothetically
Book #3: Sweet Young Thang
Book #4: Good Boy