A Lila Audio Review:Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) by Cordelia Kingsbridge and Wyatt Baker (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

It’s the height of summer in Las Vegas. Everyone believes the serial killer Seven of Spades is dead—except Levi Abrams and Dominic Russo—and it’s back to business as usual. For Levi, that means investigating a suspicious overdose at the Mirage that looks like the work of a high-class call girl, while Dominic pursues a tough internship with a local private investigator. The one bright spot for both of them is their blossoming relationship.

But things aren’t so simple. Soon Levi is sucked into a dangerous web of secrets and lies, even as his obsession with the Seven of Spades intensifies. Dominic knows that Levi isn’t crazy. He knows the Seven of Spades is still out there, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But Dominic has his own demons to battle, and he may be fighting a losing war.

One thing is certain: the Seven of Spades holds all the cards. It won’t be long before they show their hand.

Trick Roller is one of those rare books in which the sequel is better than the first book. It’s also slower and less complicated. The reader has more time to get into the characters and be part of their growth instead of concentrating primarily on solving the mystery.

I enjoyed the amount of detail in the story. It’s not info dump, but a great characterization. The author takes time to plant small details about the characters, their past, present, and hard times. The story is an intricate web of events and personalities that move the plot forward.

Levi and Dominic aren’t perfect, which makes the book interesting. They can be anyone we know dealing with their everyday issues. Their relationship also develops in this book and I’m glad they were in sync during the story. It was them against the world. The book has an ending, but the series ends in an interesting cliffhanger.

This time around, the narration by Wyatt Baker wasn’t as bad. Yes, I still had issues recognizing the speaker but I was familiar enough with the characters.

The cover by Garrett Leigh has elements from the story and it matches the previous book in the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Wyatt Baker
Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes

Published: March 19, 2019 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07PJM5QS7
Edition Language: English

Series: Seven of Spades
Book #1: Kill Game
Book #2: Trick Roller

A Lila Audiobook Review: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane and Peter B. Brooke (narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Learning to trust and falling in love.Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Stand by Your Manny brings another chapter to a series that stands aside from others due to the timespan between installments. It is necessary to read, at least, book one in this series to have a better understanding of the characters. It’s refreshing to see a young character turn into an intelligent young man between stories.

This is a story of discovering, not only of love but of what a family constitutes. Due to Cooper’s and Sammy’s age, it’s easy to think about this book as a YA story. We get to see how hard they worked to accept help without losing their independence. They become a team without realizing it, and shortly after, start a relationship based on honesty and innocence.

I enjoyed the UST in the story. It turns into part of the characters and their slow discoveries. The enjoyment of their new found relationship and their love for their families it’s an integral part of their path. We get to experience a range of emotions that felt real, not only for the characters but for the readers.

Getting to see the previous couples is an added bonus. They played a special part on Sammy’s and Cooper’s relationship and it’s exciting to see how much they have grown and learned about each other. I really love how Channing and Tino dealt with a growing Sammy. It was adorkable.

It was disappointing that John Solo was not the narrator of this story. He did an excellent job bringing the previous two books together. In this volume, we get Peter B. Brooke as the narrator. He adds that young tone to Sammy and Cooper without jeopardizing the previous characters we love.

The cover by Bree Archer follows the pattern of the series as well as the collection, giving us a peak of Sammy and his music room.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke
Length: 6 hours 01 minutes
Published: July 17, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07FMF4BG4
Edition Language: English

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny
Book #2: Manny Get Your Guy
Book #3: Stand by your Manny 

A Lila Audionook Review: Kill Game (Seven of Spades #1) by Cordelia Kingsbridge and Wyatt Baker (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

Kill Game is an interesting police procedural with a good amount of comedic relief & romance.  It’s not totally dark, but it has enough grim to make the reader guess the outcome. The book has a fulfilling ending, but as a series ends in a cliffhanger. Not enough to disappoint, but enough to want to listen to the next installment immediately.

I really enjoyed the main characters’ imperfections. Neither of them is a demi-god, superhero combo with perfect bodies or lives. They are down-to-earth men, truthful to their jobs and lovely with their friends and families. They wanted to do better for others even when their lives were less than perfect.

Their relationship is more than slow. By the end of the book they are finally coming to terms with their attraction, but even then, they took the time to get to know each other, providing the space they needed to be better before moving forward. I hope the next couple of books show us more of their relationship.

All the secondary characters were fleshed out and the victims interesting enough to carry the suspense angle. I like the Seven of Spades and the way it plays the game with Levi and Dom. Showing how much they learned from each other.

This is my first audiobook by Wyatt Baker and it didn’t work for me. I’m glad the story was solid and kept my interest. I had trouble following who was talking. At least, thanks to the author, I had enough clues to figure it out. Definitely, not looking forward to another of his narrations.

The cover by Garrett Leigh shows the main clue in the story and goes with the dark theme.

Sales Links:  Riptide | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Wyatt Baker
Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes

Published: April 20, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B07CG9XC8Y
Edition Language: English

Series: Seven of Spades
Book #1: Kill Game

 

A Lila Audiobook Review: Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What they say this book’s all about?

Terrence Moss. Conrad Harris. Gold Team Leader. Darius Hawthorne. The Vault. Juggling all these names would bother some, but for Darius, it’s business as usual. When he closes a chapter in his life, he leaves a name—and the people associated with it—behind. He’s managed to keep a few colleagues, even fewer friends, and no companionship through his forty-plus years… but that’s now changing.

The newest chapter of his life is bringing serious change: a stable home, a recovered identity, an unlikely family, and now a chance encounter with the one man Darius ever loved: Efrem Lahm. The reasons they parted are still valid, and there’s no way they can trust each other. But Efrem has already decided he won’t let Darius go… and Darius will have to decide if he wants to take a chance with his heart this late in the day.

Late in the Day is a story of second chances and hard happily ever afters. It starts right into the action and personally, it took me a moment to make the connection between the end of the last book and the start of this one. One thing I didn’t like was the switch between the current moment and snippets of past events. By the time the characters moved back to the current timeline, I was ready to skip over.

Like many of the author’s stories, we have met Conrad before and we get to see many others helping us discover the events that shaped Conrad. Also, to learn how he fell in love with Efrem. Perhaps a bit far-fetched but it works in the end.

I did want more time with Conrad and Efrem. It seems as if we lost the majority of their love story within other books. Don’t get me wrong, they have great chemistry but I wanted them to show it, not having it be implied. It does end with a pretty wrapped up, sigh-worthy HEA.

And definitely, kudos to Mary Calmes for having characters over forty; getting closer to fifty. 🙂

As always, Greg Boudreaux did an excellent job bringing to life the new characters in this book and bringing the rest from the previous ones. It was easy to feel what the characters felt and this added to the listeners’ enjoyment.

The cover by Reese Dante has a lovely depiction of Conrad. The strength in his gaze shows through the book.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 5 hours and 41 minutes

Published: March 7, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B07B86XWF8
Edition Language: English

Series: The Vault
Book #1: A Day Makes
Book #2: Late in the Day

A Lila Audiobook Review: Red Fish, Dead Fish ( Fish Out of Water #2) by Amy Lane and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What they say this book’s all about?

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Red Fish, Dead Fish is even better than Fish Out of Water. I have forgotten that when Amy Lane goes for gritty and sad it’s always detailed and perfect. What Jackson endures in this second story takes off with the same intensity and suffering. Yes, it’s more than redeeming in the end, but he has to fight with everything he has to get to the other side, where Ellery is always waiting for him.

The author did an excellent job integrating this volume within the main story. We get to learn more about Jackson’s life, his fears, and the need he has to love and be love. Ellery is always there with him even when Jackson tries to push him aside. They have learned to work together and comfort each other better. There’s always an internal fight not to give the other too much but in the end, they always provided what the other needed.

There’s a large variety of secondary characters, new and old, that make the reader want to know more about their stories. Plus, in Amy Lane’s fashion, we get to see characters from her other books making small cameos in this book. It works and is always best to read the other books first; in this case, Racing for the Sun. There are also some bonus short stories at the end of the audiobook that are worth listening to. They bring all three books together.

I don’t think this series is over. The reader gets a complete story, but there’s always the possibility for more. Opened doors and new phycological adventures for Jackson and Ellery. This book was long and action-packed. Parts are cringeworthy and you get to suffer with the characters but in the end, it goes perfectly with the characters and their story.

Greg Tremblay brings the characters back to life without missing a step. They’re as strong and individual as on the first book, getting the reader submerged into the story within minutes.

The cover by Reese Dante matches the previous book with its clean lines and out of the ordinary elements. Still, quite literal, but it works one more time.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 11 hours and 48 minutes

Published: March 2, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01LZQ0MBK

Edition Language: English

Series: Fish Out of Water
Book #1: Fish Out of Water
Book #2: Red Fish, Dead Fish

A Lila Audiobook Review: How To Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Rules are made to be broken . . .

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

How to Bang a Billionaire is a more refined, gay version of Fifty Shades of Grey. I did laugh a lot more than with Anna and Christian, but the essence of both stories is the same. A dark, brooding hero that can’t love and keeps everyone at arm’s length, and a young man in distress, helpless without his cool and collected love interest.

There are differences, for example, this story has less supporting characters and young Arden is not a vulnerable, oblivious virgin. There’s no goddess or internal voices even when the reader spent a considerable part of the story in Arden’s head. But overall, the similarities are many.

The characters and the settings are interesting and the author’s prose beautifully written. Humor plays an important part as well as in-depth conversations between the main characters. I enjoyed the descriptions and the troubles Arden got into. I like how Caspian felt comfortable to be himself when he was with Arden.

One of the only things I didn’t like about the story related to the conditions Caspian had for Arden. He accepted him and his rules, only to complain about it a short time after. Caspian had all reasons to move forward without him; which he didn’t do. The other was the lack of background about Caspian. It was hard to get to know him thru Arden’s eyes.

Just like every series, this is not a complete story. It has the start of something good and a solid happy for now. It opens the door for a future that if it follows the Fifty’s saga it won’t have a lovely end until a third book is available.

The narration by Joel Leslie makes everything better. It’s easy to follow the characters’ perspective and how they feel about each other. He makes the reader feel what the characters are feeling making the story more personal and enjoyable.

After reading the story, I’m still unsure of who is on the cover by Brian Lemus. I believe is Caspian but I can be wrong.

Sales Links:  Hachette | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Length: 11 hours

Published: January 16, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Hachette Audio
ASIN: B078WZLVX4
Edition Language: English

Series:  Arden St. Ives
Book #1: How to Bang a Billionaire

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

 

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

A Lila Audiobook Review: Tart and Sweet (Candy Man #4) by Amy Lane and Narrator: Philip Alces

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

In the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free.

Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning.

However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.

 

Tart and Sweet is another lovely story. Just like the title, it’s sweet and a bit tart, but not enough to overwhelm the plot. Like the previous three books in the series, we get to see all the original characters and how they are evolving in the relationships. At the same time, they all play an integral part in Cy’s and Robbie’s story.

 

The opening scene between Cy and Robbie is beautiful and envelops the listener into the magic of the boardwalk and the possibilities of a new relationship. The connection between them and Robbie’s hopes are palpable and in the air between them for all to see.

 

I enjoyed Robbie’s disposition to make amends about his past, starting with Adam. He doesn’t shy away from what he did and takes responsibility for his actions. This prepared him for an honest relationship with Cy; who isn’t perfect but understands Robbie’s needs. Cy’s inner shine is always present and Robbie is attracted to it, but their relationship is more than physical.

 

Overall, this one is perhaps my favorite in the series. I hope, we get many more trips to Candy Heaven.

 

The narration by Philip Alces continues to be perfect for the characters and the story. He has a continuity in the voices that allows the story to flow and for the characters to take life.

 

Paul Richmond’s cover is another adaptation from the original, including the pets and the always present piece of candy.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

 

Audiobook Details:

 

Narrator: Philip Alces
Length: 7 hours and 47 minutes

Published: August 1, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B074CK36NT
Edition Language: English

 

Series:  Candy Man
Book #1: Candy Man
Book #2: Bitter Taffy
Book #3: Lollipop
Book #4: Tart and Sweet

A Lila Audiobook Review: Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts 3) by KC Burn and David Ross (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tate Buchanan is a troublemaker who can’t keep a job, no matter how many times his lucky argyle sweater gets him hired. Add to that a learning disability and an impetuous nature that sends him into altercations to protect the defenseless, and he hardly manages to make friends, let alone find a man who’s interested in him for more than one night.

Most people think EMT Jaime Escobar is a player, but the truth is he wants a serious partner—he just can’t justify wasting time on guys he knows aren’t a match. But when he treats a gorgeous redhead after a fight, he finds the spark he’s spent so many years looking for.

Jaime wants to take the next step with Tate, but it’s clear Tate’s not going to curb his impulsive behavior—his next fight sends him to the hospital. Jaime’s relationship with a near criminal isn’t something his family is ready to accept, not any more than Tate is willing to be kept a secret. Jaime will need a lot of understanding—and some luck of his own—to keep them both. But this is one fight he’s going to see through to the end.

Just Add Argyle is the best one in the series so far. Most likely because we have known Jaime since book one and we have witnessed his longing for love and his support for his friends–plus the love for his family. We are all cheering for his happily ever after and he finally gets it.

Tate is perfect for Jaime. With all his troubles and childhood issues, he still a good man with a penchant for children and the needy. I love the way he always tried to help others even when he gets in trouble for it. He’s more about taking action than looking into consequences.

Putting Jaime and Tate together we get to see what a loving relationship is all about. We see them taking care of each other and trying to help the other to achieve their potential. Also, their relationships with others are relevant to their love story; giving us updates from the previous couples.

Overall, this is a quick read with a mismatched pair that fit together. Their lives aren’t easy but they work together to move forward and nurture their love and future.

David Ross once again did an excellent job voicing not only the main characters but those we have met in the previous books in the series. It’s nice to connect the voices with their previous actions.

On the cover by L.C. Chase, we get to see Tate wearing one of this lucky argyle vests. It goes with the other covers and the adaptation of the e-book cover.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: David Ross
Length: 7 hours and 32 minutes

Published: July 21, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B0742K3BGH
Edition Language: English

 

Series:  Fabric Hearts
Book #1: Tartan Candy
Book #2: Plaid Versus Parsley
Book #3: Just Add Argyle