An Ali Audiobook Review: There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness. 

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.
This was a very well done hurt/comfort story that looks at what it takes to make changes in your life. Dallas is renovating an old warehouse with his best friend. He’s more than happy to find out the attractive man across the street, Jake, will be the person who is going to restore the metal grating over his windows.

Jake has noticed Dallas before he starts working for him but Jake would never think of making a move on him. Jake is deeply in the closet and struggling with a background of severe childhood abuse, current depression and he’s caregiving for his horrible father.

As the two men start to work together Dallas quells his attraction to Jake because he realizes what Jake really needs is a friend. What follows is a very touching slow burn romance. 

The romance was really believable in this because there was no magic solution that was provided due to them falling in love. They’re friends for months first. Jake goes to therapy and puts the work in. They talk and communicate over everything. Then they proceed with their relationship. I loved the fact that the author did it this way.

I thought the writing was good and I loved the character development. I felt a great connection between the two men, and I as a reader was connected to their story. I also enjoyed the side characters and they roles they played. 

If you’ve read this author before you know that most of her stories contain a mystery, often a murder, and the investigation is part of the plot. This was different and focused on the relationship. It was probably her most contemporary romance to date. 
This audiobook was narrated by Greg Tremblay and I thought he did a very good job.  His voice is really pleasant and I liked how he did both of the main characters as well as the side characters.  There were a lot of emotional scenes in this book and I felt the audio made them even more full of feeling.  I got a little teary when I listened to this as opposed to when I read it.  I think a great narration really brings a story to a different level. 

There are some heavy scenes in this book and it might not be for everyone. Nothing is graphic but note this if you have triggers with stories about severe depression, child abuse or domestic violence.

For all other readers though, I highly recommend this. I enjoyed it a lot.
 
Cover:  This cover was done by Reece Notley and I like it a lot.  It’s striking and it catches your attention immediately.  I also like how it has a different vibe compared to the author’s other books, and since this is a different type of story for her, I think it’s perfect.
Sales  Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon | Audible | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published April 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published March 17th 2017)
ASINB06Y3MPXNF
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Where There’s Fire (Panopolis #2) by Cari Z. and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.

I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.

It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.
This entertaining story picks up six months after the last one ended. Edward is trying to get a handle on his new powers and he and Raul are living a quiet life. Edward is having some bad side effects to his power that he’s struggling with and he’s exploring how to make a name for himself as a villain. His first bank robbery goes awry and Raul is kidnapped by the worst villain they’ve encountered yet. His love for Raul forces Edward to step into the role he doesn’t think he’s ready for yet.

This was another really good read by this author. I think this series is so unique and creative. I love the world the author has made and I personally haven’t read anything like it before. The plot races along and keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next. In addition to the action you also get a sweet love story with a bit of sexy times thrown in. I highly recommend this fun series and I can’t wait for the next episode in Edward and Raul’s lives.
 
This book was narrated by Nick J. Russo.  I felt like he did a great job with all of the voices.  I’ve listened to many books narrated by him over the years and he’s consistently good.
Cover by LC Chase:  I love the cover of this book, as well as the others in the series.  They are striking and they have a sort of comic book/graphic novel vibe to them, as do the plots of the books.
Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published April 18th 2017 (first published July 12th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPanopolis #2

An Ali Audiobook Review: Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay #7) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.
I forgot how much I enjoyed this author.  This was a great example of her story telling style. This was funny, sweet and steamy.  It starts as a bit of an enemies to lovers story due to a fall out between the two MC’s back when they were in high school.
I also liked the fact that the story felt realistic.  It was believable that these two could come together like they did.
I liked both Lucas & Gabriel as characters and they went well together.   I also enjoyed the side characters.  They all added to the story and I was so interested in one of them, Seth, that I had to look to see if he had gotten his own book.  (I’m glad to report he has & I’m off to read it as well).
This is a long series that is done by a collaboration of authors.  Since each of the books is written by a different author they can be read as a standalone with no problems.
This audiobook was narrated by Nick J Russo & I felt like he did a very good job on all of the characters.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it.
Cover by L.C. Chase:  I like the cover and feel it is a good representation of the MC’s and the storyline.
Audiobook Details:
8 hrs 14 mins
Audible Audio, 9 pages
Published April 13th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published April 11th 2015)
Finalist: Best Gay Romantic Comedy in the 2015 Rainbow Awards!
Original TitleWedding Favors
ASINB06Y3MWY3S
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBluewater Bay #7
CharactersLucas Wilder, Gabriel Savage settingBluewater Bay, Washington (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

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Rating 4.5  out of 5 stars
empty-net-audioSpartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.
Two of my favorite things in the world are hockey and books. When you combine them together I’m in heaven. This was the fourth book in my favorite hockey romance series. At the end of the last book there was a pretty ugly game between two rival teams and goalie Laurent St, Savoy crosses the line in a big way. The beginning of this story starts with Laurent being traded to the Spitfires and being expected to play with a bunch of guys (& coaches) who hate him. 

Laurent is aware is behavior was deplorable but he has some serious issues and desperation made him act like he did. Issac Drake wants to ignore Laurent all season and just play the game but as team captain that’s kind of hard to do. When circumstances bring Laurent’s issues to Issac’s attention he finds he can’t turn his back on his new teammate. 

Issac and Laurent become friends and Issac slowly convinces his other teammates and coaches to give Laurent a second chance. Much of the story is about Laurent learning to deal with his issues and stand up for himself. Over the course of the story the two young men fall in love and develop a relationship.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s my second favorite of the series. It tackles some pretty serious issues in a well thought out manner. The progression of Issac and Laurent’s relationship was realistic and I really loved them together. In addition to their relationship there were also some very touching moments between Issac and his coach/mentor Misha. Those ended up being some of my favorite scenes in the entire book.

As usual this author writes great hockey scenes and it’s apparent that she not only knows the rules and regulations of the game but her love for it jumps off every page at you. As a fellow hockey lover that means a lot to me. There’s nothing as exciting as the big games and/or the big wins in sports stories. 
The three previous books in the series can be read as standalones and technically this one could too but I think you would get more out of this story if you read the previous book first. There is a lot of back story on Issac and his coaches that you should know. 
This story was narrated by Scott R. Smith.  I thought he did a good job with both of the MC’s as well as all of the side characters.  I find that this narrator is consistently good with his books.

Again, I love this series and this was another great installment. This is a definite recommend from me and may be one of my most enjoyed audiobooks of the year.
 
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson:  I really like this cover.  It’s a great cover for a story about two goalies. 
Sales Links:
0dbe2-dreamspinner2blogo
Audiobook Details:
6 hrs 38 mins
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 2nd 2016)
Original TitleEmpty Net
ASINB01N31AV7C
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesScoring Chances #4

An Ali Audiobook Review: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh and Narrated by Craig Beck

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
betweenghosts_audiobook2400In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.
I first read this around this time last year.  I was excited to get the opportunity to try this on audio because I had loved the story so much when I read it.  I’m happy to say that it was just as good on audio.  Connor is a journalist who has been an anti-war protester in the past. After his soldier brother dies Connor feels that he never really knew James and he fears James didn’t know how much he loved and respected him. Trying to find some peace in regards to his feelings about his brother Connor finds himself on a mission to Iraq with a SAS team. He’s going to do a series of articles showcasing what it is that the soldiers do and how they feel about their jobs.

Nat is the leader of that team and he’s been in war zones for years. He’s lost a lot of friends, as well as big pieces of his heart. He’s not happy about being stuck with a journalist but he quickly finds himself drawn to Connor and he’s challenged to start opening up the emotional parts of himself that he thought were long gone. Nat’s lost men in his command before that he feels responsible for and he’s consumed with fear that something might happen to Connor on his watch and that’s something he can’t live with.

The story is mostly set in Iraq so there is fighting and bloodshed. I didn’t find especially violent though and I do not think it will be an issue for most. There are some social and political issues raised but nothing that makes it preachy in either pro or con views. The war as a back drop to a budding romance just served to highlight the beauty of these two men’s relationship.

The highlight of this book are the relationships. Not just between Connor and Nat but between each of them and the other men in the group. Also important are the “ghosts” in their pasts. The brother that Connor lost and the best friend who’s death Nat feels responsible for. I loved both Connor and Nat and found them to be great MC’s. I empathized with what both of them were going through in the course of the story.
This is narrated by Craig Beck and I thought he did an excellent job.  There are a number of voices in this story and it was never difficult to tell them apart.  Also, there are a lot of emotions in this story and I think he did a great good making them all come through.  It added an extra level to what was already a poignant story.
This is an audio that I would highly recommend.  Everything about it is good.  It’s a unique story with an emotional plot and great characters and it is extremely well narrated.
The cover by Garrett Leigh:  I think this is a great cover and it fits the story very well.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
N/A

An Ali Audiobook Review: Resurrecting Elliot (Newport Boys #2) by Cate Ashwood ~ Michael Pauley (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Resurrecting Elliot audioNightmares and panic attacks following a horrific tragedy leave Professor Elliot Lawrence a prisoner in his own home. After months of relying on his sister as his only connection to the outside world, Elliot is desperate for a sliver of independence. But leaving the safety of his home isn’t an option, not yet, and he reaches out in the most innocuous way he can think of: grocery delivery.

Colton Kelly, retired porn star and recent college grad, is struggling at two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. During one of his grocery deliveries, he meets Elliot. Although the attraction between them is instant, they must first traverse the long road of putting Elliot back together. When disaster strikes yet again, this time in Colt’s life, Elliot’s not sure he’s strong enough to be the man Colt needs him to be.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  It was my first time reading this author and I was really pleased with the writing.  Elliot is suffering from PTSD and is isolated in his home.  When Colton delivers groceries to him they begin a tentative friendship that over time turns into something more.  Despite the fact that Elliot has major issues and Colton is a retired porn star, there is little angst in this.  It was a quiet love story but really sweet.  I thought it was a nice change of pace from the angst and drama filled books that so often make up the romance genre.  These characters seemed realistic and their behaviors were completely understandable.  When they encounter problems they just discussed it like adults and moved on.  I really liked them both and I was rooting for them the entire way.
I listened to this on audio and felt the narrator did a really good job.  He has a nice voice and was consistent through the entire story.  He did a nice job on both of the main character’s voices as well as the side characters.  This is an audio I would definitely recommend.
Cover by Brooke Albrecht. I like the cover.  I don’t think it stands out but it is nice.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published April 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 20th 2015)
ASINB01DYH3VSI
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL
SeriesNewport Boys #2

An Ali Audiobook Review: Violated by Jamie Fessenden and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Violated audiobook coverDerek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.

This was a very emotional story.  Derek is content with his life if not happy.  When he is violated by his friend he realizes how much he doesn’t like some aspects of his life.  He does everything he can to deal on his own without anyone’s help until he pretty much loses everything except his dog and cabin.  Russ can’t help but tell there is something wrong with his new neighbor and will do anything he can to help Derek and help him move forward.

You can’t help but connect with the characters and feel just how they are.  I could feel how desperate and isolated Derek felt about what happened to him and how hurt Russ is for Derek when he is told the story.  It takes awhile for Derek to fully open up to anyone and begin to move forward in his life after all that has happened.  This story had a great HFN ending a couple years in the future.  It made it more believable because with all that happened there really isn’t any way that everything would suddenly work out, they will always need to work thru their emotions together.

KC Kelly did a very nice job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.

Cover art by LC Chase is perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 9 hrs 42 min
Published: March 21, 2016 (ebook first published August 7, 2015)
Edition Language: English