An Ali Audiobook Review: ’Tis the Season​ by Alex Jane and Michael Fell (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Aaron has spent the past ten months alone. When he meets a sad, yet strangely familiar man on a cold Halloween night, he impulsively invites him home. But the intimate connection they share lasts only until morning. Aaron wakes up alone—wracked with guilt and devastated to have lost his chance.

Or so he thinks.

Thanksgiving brings Aaron another shot at happiness, but letting go of an old love and accepting a new one isn’t as easy as everyone keeps telling him. And by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, it becomes clear that Aaron’s not the only one struggling to let himself love again.

Christmas miracles are all well and good, but it’s going to take more than the Holiday Spirit for Aaron to get his happy ever after. 

A story of grief, sadness, and letting it go; and finding love when you least expect it. 
This was an emotional and beautiful story. It starts on Halloween when Aaron is walking around at night. He’s lonely and sad and filled with grief over the death of his husband 10 months prior. As he walks he sees a man sitting on the edge of a bridge and he’s afraid he’s planning to jump. He goes over and starts the most awkward exchange ever but the two end up talking to each other. Dylan says he wasn’t planning on jumping but he’s got a ton of personal hurt of his own. The story then follows them through Thanksgiving and into Christmas as they start falling for each other.

I’d never heard of this author until last week and I’ve now read three of her books since then. This story was so beautifully written. Aaron’s grief was so well done it jumped off the page at you. But as he starts caring for Dylan, his hope also jumps off of the page. The romance is a slow burn and unfolds in a way that felt really realistic. Both MC’s seemed like every day people just trying to do the best they can. The epilogue was very emotional and full of feelz. If you’re not touched by it and possibly a bit teary-eyed, then your heart’s made of stone. 
This audiobook was narrated by Michael Fell.  It was the first time I had listened to a book he narrated and I was really impressed.  I thought he did a great job and I will definitely look for more of his work.

This was one of the best holiday books I’ve read this season and one I think you should definitely read asap.
Cover:  I think the cover is average and while it is nice, I do not think it stands out
Sales LinksAmazon | Audible
Audiobook Details:
Audio Book – 2.9 hours
Audiobook, 87 pages
Published October 13th 2017 by Alex Jane (

An Ali Audiobook Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.
Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.
While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.
Fae are my some of my favorite paranormal creatures and I rarely find them done in the m/m genre so I’m always happy when this author does paranormal books because she does Fae well.  This was an urban fantasy story that developed from a previously done short story.  This is set in an alternative San Francisco and I thought the setting and world building was just fantastic.  Everything was described in such rich detail that I felt like I was there.  I could imagine all of the narrow, crowded streets, the different kinds of people and fae, the dragons that guarded the buildings.  It’s the type of story telling you need to read slowly so you can savor all of the words.
I really liked Roku as our main point of view.  He’s a complicated man with a tragic past, one of which unfolds over the course of the book.  I was a big fan of his from the very beginning of the book.  His partner Trent was a nice addition to the story and I ended up liking him as well.  There a host of side characters and they all are well developed in their own way.  They were also vividly done.
I thought the mystery aspect was really good.  It was fast paced and filled with action and adventure.  This book would make an excellent movie.  It was one high octane moment after another.  My only complaint was the romance aspect was insta-love.  I found this hard to by into with Roku’s horrible previous losses.  If it had been up to me I would have liked to see this be an ongoing series with a much slower developing romance.  But….since it’s not up to me, I just rolled with it.  They were sweet together and they both deserved some happiness.
This audiobook was narrated by Greg Tremblay and I felt like he did a very good job on this.  His voice has a nice cadence which I enjoy.  I felt he did an equally good job on all of the many voices and I enjoyed his narration a lot.
This cover was done by Anne Cain and I think it is a lovely cover.  I was immediately drawn to the rich purple and gold/orange colors on it.  I also think it is a great representation of the plot.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published July 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 9th 2017)
Original TitleDim Sum Asylum
ASINB0742FWZMV
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersRoku MacCormick, Trent Leonard settingChinatown, San Francisco, California (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Winter Dark by J.S. Cook and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
The horrific murder of a local woman rocks Morristown, Mississipi. With her death, veteran police chief Eli Gallagher feels he’s failed his small town, despite trying his best to serve and protect everyone in his jurisdiction. Sometimes that’s harder than it looks, given that rich and poor don’t always get along, and life on the other side of the tracks can turn deadly.

By his side is conscientious young Deputy Stan Leach. Together they work to discover the killer. But as they uncover evidence, their personal lives begin to unravel. Eli’s long-distance boyfriend telephones saying he’s getting married to a woman. Stan learns that the man he helped shelter wants to move on. When the clues unveil a history of abuse, the two men pull together to bring the murdered woman justice and maybe find the answers to theother questions in their lives.
This is a novella by a new to me author.  The  story was just ok for me.  The majority of the story is about the two main characters in relationships with other people.  We see those relationships and eventually why those don’t work out.  They end up working a horrible murder case together and take comfort in each other.  All of a sudden they are a couple and it is the end of the book.  We get an epilogue which shows their happily ever after but I felt cheated.  I felt like the book was about the other relationships and we didn’t get to see any of this relationship develop.  The ending was very abrupt in my opinion and honestly I wasn’t too happy with the way it all played out.  
The book was narrated by K.C Kelly and I felt like he did a nice job.  He had a nice voice and I was always able to tell which character was talking.  
Although the narration was solid and I liked that aspect, I didn’t really enjoy the story as a whole.
Cover:  I like the cover and felt it was well done.  It’s an attractive cover that catches your eye.  It’s also a nice representation of the story.
Sales Links Kindle and Audible  :  Amazon
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published February 17th 2017 (first published September 10th 2014)
ASINB06WD4YF9F
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingMississippi (United States)

An Ali Audiobook Review: Lord Mouse (Lords of Davenia #1) by Mason Thomas and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job.

But that could change.

When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn his back on that much coin—enough to buy a king’s pardon for the murder charge hanging over his head.

Getting Garron out of his tower prison is the easy part. Now, they must escape an army of guardsmen, a walled keep and a city on lockdown, and a ruthless mage using her power to track them. Making matters worse, Mouse is distracted by Garron’s charm and unyielding integrity. Falling for a client can lead to mistakes. Falling for a nobleman can lead to disaster. But Mouse is unprepared for the dangers behind the plot to make Lord Garron disappear.
 
This started a bit slow for me while it did it’s world building and set up of the plot, but once it took off, it shot out of the gate.  It was a fast paced adventure and I loved every minute of it.  Mouse was a wonderful main character for me.  He was bristly and grumpy and I found him endlessly entertaining.  The grumpy MC falling in love is one of my favorite sub-tropes and I feel like the author nailed it here.  He did a great job of showing us Mouse’s internal struggle as he falls for Garron.  Garron was also a great MC.  He was a nice balance to Mouse.  I felt like the chemistry between the two jumped off of the page and so did the more tender feelings.  The happily ever after at the end was really touching.  
There were a lot of side characters but they all added to the story and I never felt overwhelmed with them.  I was glad to see this was the first book in a series and I immediately went out and bought the next book.  I would love to see the author do more books in this world.  
This audiobook was narrated by Joel Leslie and I thought he did a really good job with all of the voices.  For some reason I have listened to a lot of this narrator’s books lately (about 7-8) and I think this was one of the best ones.  He really nailed every aspect of this book.  
If you’re looking for a story that is both well written and narrated well this is a definite recommend.  I think that story has something for everyone.
 This cover was designed by AngstyG and I love it.  I think it’s both artistically beautiful and it fits the plot of the story super well.  I actually chose to review this book based solely on the cover.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published March 10th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 6th 2015)
ASINB06XGZ6Q2Z
Edition Language English
SeriesLords of Davenia #1

An Ali Audiobook Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh and Craig Beck (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
what-remains-audiobookWeb designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right? 

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter. 

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
 
I liked this but I didn’t love it. The story follows the relationship of Rupert and Jodi as they experience some serious problems. I don’t want to say more about it because it really can’t be discussed without spoilers. Unfortunately there is another pretty famous book in this genre with the same plot and I could not stop comparing the two. This book has the same dream like quality that makes this author’s writing style unique but overall I wasn’t drawn in like I usually am to her stories. I was never super attached to the characters either. I never felt emotion other than a little sadness and I feel like this should have been a tear jerker. I spent some time wondering if I would have been more emotional if I wasn’t comparing with the other book but I don’t think I would have been. There was just some connection missing for me in this book. So…..not bad by any means but wasn’t as good as I usually find this author’s work.
The audiobook was narrated by Craig Beck and I thought he did an excellent job.  His voice is wonderful and he did a equally good job on both of the main characters as well as the side characters.  I think this was the perfect narrator for this story.
Cover by: G.D. Leigh:  I like the cover.  It’s a nice, striking cover that immediately catches your eye.
Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 424 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published July 4th 2016)
Original TitleWhat Remains
ASINB01N1XNY5D
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Crime Wave (Jimmy McSwain Files #2) by Adam Carpenter and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
crime-wave-audiobook-coverJimmy McSwain returns to help his sister’s boyfriend fight a murder charge–and finds he may just have a lead on a cold case.

Hell’s Kitchen private investigator Jimmy McSwain returns in a twisting tale of past sins and present-day vengeance. Jimmy McSwain isn’t thrilled about taking a case for free but when his sister fears her boyfriend, Rocky, is cheating on her, he has no choice. But the case takes a deadly turn when Rocky is standing over the body of a man he was just seen kissing, and he’s holding the gun. He begs Jimmy to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, as a sweltering heat wave claims New York City, a gunman with a thirst for blood is targeting Manhattan deli owners and has already claimed two victims. Jimmy knows a thing or two about those as fourteen years ago his father was killed outside a deli, and it’s possible today’s killer could be linked to that unsolved murder, one that continues to haunt Jimmy. Enlisting the aid of sexy NYPD Captain Francis X. Frisano, Jimmy finds himself torn between the two cases, as well as the heat simmering between himself and the hot cop. Suddenly a quiet summer has erupted into a full blown crime wave.
This is the second book in a series and I had not read book one but I found that this was fine as a standalone.  As the blurb states, Jimmy is a private detective who is helping his sister out as a favor.  This leads to him witnessing the tail end of a murder that his sister’s boyfriend is accused of committing.  Jimmy doesn’t really want to get involved but he feels bad for Rocky who is devastated over the murder and swears he is innocent.  Jimmy ends up investigating the murder and finds himself in the middle of a complicated crime.
In addition to this plot there is also a side plot of Jimmy trying to find out who killed his father when he was a teenager.  Some events happen that lead Jimmy to believe he is close to getting some answers.
There is a bit of romance in this between Jimmy and a police Captain that he works with.  It appeared there had been some attraction between them in the previous book but they get together for the first time in this book.  This was my least favorite part of the story.  I didn’t care much for Francis and I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two men.  It was more telling me how they felt than showing me.  
I enjoyed the overall plot of the book and I liked the murder mystery that involved Rocky.  I thought that was done well and had a few interesting twists.  The writing style did not completely work for me though.  There were passages that felt too wordy and there were sections, especially when the two men were together, that were filled with purple prose.  I think that also led me to dislike the romance between the two.
This audio was narrated by Joel Leslie.  I thought he did a good job on the narration.  His voice for Jimmy was well done as were the side characters.  There were parts that bothered me but those weren’t really the narrator’s fault.  He was simply reading the words the author wrote.  Even knowing that I still found the purple prose parts annoying and had to remind myself it wasn’t the narration that was bugging me but the text.
Overall this was an average read/audio.  I didn’t love it but I did like it well enough that I will probably try the next book in the series at some point.
Cover:  The cover is average and it is a good representation of the story plot.
Sales Links
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Audiobook Details:
Length: 7 hrs
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published December 7th 2016 by Linden Corners Press (first published July 1st 2015)
SeriesJimmy McSwain Files #2

An Ali Audiobook Review: Absinthe of Malice (Sinners #5) by Rhys Ford and Tristan James (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
absinthe-of-malice-audiobookWe’re getting the band back together.

Those five words send a chill down Miki St. John’s spine, especially when they’re spoken with a nearly religious fervor by his brother-in-all-but-blood, Damien Mitchell. However, those words were nothing compared to what Damien says next.

And we’re going on tour.

When Crossroads Gin hits the road, Damien hopes it will draw them closer together. There’s something magical about being on tour, especially when traveling in a van with no roadies, managers, or lovers to act as a buffer. The band is already close, but Damien knows they can be more—brothers of sorts, bound not only by familial ties but by their intense love for music.

As they travel from gig to gig, the band is haunted by past mistakes and personal demons, but they forge on. For Miki, Damie, Forest, and Rafe, the stage is where they all truly come alive, and the music they play is as important to them as the air they breathe.

But those demons and troubles won’t leave them alone, and with every mile under their belts, the band faces its greatest challenge—overcoming their deepest flaws and not killing one another along the way.
I enjoyed this story and I thought it was a creative way to give us updates on all four of the couples in one story.  The guys are on the road as the blurb says, but a lot the story is about Miki starting to work through things.  Since Miki is my all time favorite from this series that was a great thing for me.  The story follows the guys on their first tour and lot of things happen.  It’s pretty fast paced and is filled with some serious moments and some more light-hearted ones.  Even though the guys are on the road, their partners and other family members also make frequent appearances.  Brigid and Donal steal every scene they’re in for me. I just adore them both.
I don’t want to spoil the plot and say more about it but know that it is fast paced and entertaining.  The four relationships are in various places and things are a little more challenging for two of the couples but overall they’re all doing well and it was really touching to see them work through their various issues.  The end is not really a cliffhanger but definitely leaves you ready to get the next book as soon as possible.
This book was narrated by Tristan James who has also narrated the previous other books in the series.  This was my first time doing one of these books on audio and I enjoyed his narration a lot.  There were a lot of characters in this but I was never confused as to which one was talking.  There are also various accents from different countries and I thought he did those well too.  I did struggle a bit with the beginning of each chapter as they recount a moment from the past or song lyrics.  I prefer those when I’m reading the books.  It works better for me when I can see them.  It’s a small complaint and one that might be just an issue for me.  Overall I really liked the narration and I thought the narrator did a really good job.
Cover by Reese Notley:  I like this cover a lot.  It’s striking and the color really catches the eye, plus it goes with the book’s title.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Listening Length: 6 hours and 49 minutes
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published October 3rd 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published June 22nd 2016)
Original TitleAbsinthe of Malice
ASINB01LXP2ES3
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSinners #5

An Ali Audiobook Review: Alaska Hunt by Shelter Somerset and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
alaska-hunt-audioFor Alaska Wildlife Trooper Zanebono Fusca, it’s just another summer in Anchorage until a slew of inexplicable fatal bear attacks sets the city reeling. As far as Zane is concerned, the timing couldn’t be worse. He’s besieged with his own demons, coping with personal loss and an identity crisis that clutches him worse than a grizzly’s pickaxe-sized fangs. Ten years before, he hoped Alaska would bring him a sense of his manhood. Now the “last frontier” could put him in an early grave.

Zane’s role to protect Alaska’s teeming wildlife gets even more tangled when handsome twenty-five-year-old Joshua Gaffner arrives seeking the details of his uncle’s gruesome death. But Alaskan officials have few answers. Against his better judgment, Zane takes Joshua deep into Anchorage’s far-flung backcountry-populated with eccentric recluses and ego-driven ecologists-in search of the truth. As the bizarre attacks increase, Zane and Josh continue to push for clues to crack the mystery. Finally Zane unravels a shocking discovery that makes the pieces fall into place. The trouble is Josh stands in the perfect position to become the next victim.
 
This was just an average story for me.  I was drawn to it by the wildlife plotline and that part I enjoyed.  It seemed like a well researched topic by the author.  I was very interested in what was going on with the bears and who was behind the mystery part of it.  Unfortunately I didn’t connect with either MC.  The author had a writing style that didn’t work for me and as a result I felt the MC’s conversation was odd in places.  I also didn’t really feel the connection between the main characters and Zane in general bugged me.  Some of the things he said and did didn’t set well with me.  He’s not a person I would care for in real life.
My biggest issue though was the narration by John Solo.  I really disliked it a lot.  I skimmed over some other reviews of this audiobook though and it seems most other people really liked the narrator so this is probably a case of “it’s me not you.”  For me though it really didn’t work.  
Cover Artist: TL Bland:  I think the cover is pretty good and is a good representation of the story and the characters.
Audiobook Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 10 pages, Listening Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes
Published August 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 5th 2012)
ASINB01K8HGLEI
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Tigers on the Run by Sean Kennedy and Narrator Dave Gillies

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
tigers-on-the-run audiobookYoung Australian Micah Johnson is the first AFL player to be out at the beginning of his career. Retired professional football player Declan Tyler mentors Micah, but he finds it difficult, as Micah is prone to making poor life choices that land him in trouble. Nothing Dec can’t handle. He’s been there, done that, more times than he’d like to admit. Being Simon Murray’s partner all these years has Dec quite experienced in long-suffering and mishaps.
As usual, Simon thinks everything is going along just fine until his assistant, Coby, tells him a secret involving an old nemesis. Simon and Dec’s problems mash together, and to solve them, they must undertake a thousand-kilometer round trip in which issues will have to be sorted out, apologies are finally given, and a runaway kid is retrieved and returned to his worried parents.
I was kind of worried from the blurb that this was going to be more about Micah with only bits of Simon and Declan but thankfully I was wrong. This story picks up a bit later, the guys have been together 8 years now. The are stable and strong and as great together as always. This book is again told by Simon in his snarky way:

“……and those people will always be bitter fucking arseholes.”

“Have you ever thought of becoming a life coach?”

“No, but maybe I could write kid’s books.”

“Yeah, Life Sucks, and Then it Sucks Some More by Simon Murray.”

“It’ll prepare them early.”

Not a lot of angst here like in the first two books but that is good in my opinion. I was glad to see a continued story that lets us revisit a couple we love without drama. The story moved along quickly, the gang was all there, there were some laugh out loud moments and some beautifully sweet moments between Simon and Declan. These two remain a favorite m/m couple for me. And yay for the ending. Looks like we’re going to get more stories.

I’ve done this entire series on audio and have loved all of them.  The narrator is the same for all three books and I think he does a good job.  There’s something about doing a series on audio.  I think it makes the characters come alive more.  It’s almost like listening to a story by a friend.
Cover art by Catt Ford:  I like the cover by Catt Ford.  It fits the others in the series in the trademark style they all have.
 Audiobook Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Release Date Jun 21, 2016
Type  Contemporary Novels, Series
Length 7:35

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