A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Being True by Jacob Z. Flores and Mark Westfield (Narrator)


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Being True audiobookWhat a delightful story, well-written and refreshingly narrated by Mark Westfield. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like a young adult story, or if I’d like this narrator, since it’s my first for him, but what a knockout combo Jacob and Mark turned out to be!

Truman Cobbler has had to transfer high schools yet again in his senior year. The victim of bullying in every school he’s attended, he lives with his widowed mother who is more than willing to move to accommodate her son’s safety. Tru is short of stature with hair that has an unfortunate tendency to misbehave, ears that stick out, and teeth self-described as horse teeth. He’s also very smart and apparently exudes a gay vibe. Not that it’s untrue, as he is gay, but it seems he has some magnetic field that attracts jocks and trouble—usually together.

There is one jock, however, who is not like the others. Javier Castillo is popular and friendly and the star pitcher for the baseball team, and for some reason, he befriends Tru from the moment they meet. Tru certainly needs befriending. Other than Javi, his only friend is Claudia, the classmate who is head of the yearbook and the high school newsletter committees. Since Tru loves writing and photography, and Claudia does not follow the popular kids in bullying Tru, their friendship seems made in heaven.

When it becomes known that Javi has befriended Tru, many of the “in crowd” decide to befriend Tru as well, at least on the surface. But later in the year, when one of the jocks picks on Tru and Javi comes to defend him, Javi is given an ultimatum—Tru or the friendship of the jocks. By this time, Javi has realized his feelings for Tru are more than friendship, and the two decide to reveal their relationship to both sets of parents and then come out at school.

I love the way the author handled this situation—the strength and character of their parents was remarkable, and the boys’ reaction, though not happy, was honest obedience to the principles their parents set out. It was refreshing to see authority figures act with integrity—from parents to school administrators.

Javi and Tru face both expected and unexpected hurdles, and just as their friendship grew at first, their love for each other grows after they know each other better. Tru becomes much tougher and more confident as he faces life challenges and tragedy with determination and a strength of character quite amazing for a young man.

Oh, and did I mention sex? No? Well, once the boys are eighteen, they get their chance to explore and the combination of Jacob Flores’s writing and Mark Westfield’s narration makes for some smoking hot moments.

I recommend this one to all lovers of young adult/new adult MM romance. And the audio version is outstanding, so if you haven’t tried an audiobook, this one would be a great place to start.


Cover by Paul Richmond depicts a close-up of both young men lying side by side with a view of Javi snuggling Tru over his shoulder. Very sweet, just like the story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

8 hours and 40 minutes

Audible Audio, 9 pages
Published June 9th 2015 (first published September 15th 2014)

A Stella Audiobook Review: Going Up by Amy Lane, Paul Woodson (Narrator)


Rating: 3,5 stars out of 5

audiobook clipart bw

Going Up Audiobook CoverEvery dreary day, Zach Driscoll takes the elevator from the penthouse apartment of his father’s building to his coldly charmed life where being a union lawyer instead of a corporate lawyer is an act of rebellion. Every day, that is, until the day the elevator breaks and Sean Mallory practically runs into his arms.

Substitute teacher Sean Mallory is everything Zach is not—poor, happy, and goofily charming. With a disarming smile and a penchant for drama, Sean laughs his way into Zach’s heart one elevator ride at a time. Zach would love to get to know Sean better, but first he needs the courage to leave his ivory tower and face a relationship that doesn’t end at the “Ding!”

Going Up is the lovely story of Zach and Sean, two beautiful men so different from each other in every little thing and just for this so complementary in their relationship, as in every heartwarming book like this one. It was romantic, cute and sweet. I couldn’t have asked better from Amy Lane.

I appreciated it wasn’t one of those insta-love stories I often read, the romance was slow paced and I so enjoyed the MCs’ conversations, their numerous “elevator times” that brough them each time a little more together. A drama-free, light and quick story that caught my attention from the start. You can always count on Amy Lane for some good laughs (if you like me stay away from all those tearjerker books she writes) and this book, with all its positive feelings, was a winner. When I rethink about it, I soon have a smile on my face.  And the Rapunzel fairytale in my mind. It left me with almost a magical vibe. Well done!

I liked the narration by Paul Woodson, I’m not sure but my research says Going Up is his first MM audio. I think he did great. It was always understandable (essential quality to my WIP English) and he made me smile a lot, a perfect match for Amy’s writing.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson. I love it! It’s clean, simple and so fitting.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Audible |  Amazon


Published February 27th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
Audiobook, 2 hours and 39 minutes
Edition Language English
Narrator Paul Woodson

Barb, a Zany Old Lady Review: Wholehearted by Cate Ashwood – Audiobook narrated by John Orr


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

Wholehearted coverWhen police officer Declan Grant goes to investigate the report of someone sleeping at the end of the town dock, he’s shocked to find a bruised, bloody, and unconscious man. And he’s even more shocked by his reaction to the man— under all the blood is a handsome young man who grabs Declan’s heart and won’t let go. Though he’s not happy with the hostile reaction he gets from the man when he finally wakes in the hospital, he finds himself offering a home and friendship to Lucas Hale and the offer comes from a deep and warm place in his heart.

Against his better judgment, Lucas accepts the offer of this stranger, a man who he feels safe with, and, we later learn, finds very cute and hot. The two grow closer together over the time that Lucas is recuperating and slowly Lucas begins to trust Declan until he finally tells him the full story of the homophobic attack that occurred while working on a lobster boat. He makes Declan swear to keep it confidential, and Declan, even though he’s a police officer, agrees to do that. But Declan didn’t agree not to investigate on his own, and he manages to gather information on all the men involved in case Lucas changes his mind someday.

Over time, Declan and Lucas grow stronger together and eventually declare their love and hope for a future together. But when Mack finds the file Declan had hidden, and arranges for arrest warrants, Declan is the one who has to tell Lucas of his betrayal. And that’s exactly how Lucas sees it. Broken-hearted over the break in his trust, Lucas leaves, telling Declan that he never wants to see him again.

The next few months are hell for Declan, but bring a happy surprise to Mack and Oliver, MC’s in the first book in the series, “Brokenhearted” in the form of a new addition to their family. Eventually Declan and Lucas get to see each other again while preparing for the trial, and after a long and heartfelt talk they begin to work their way toward their HEA. A large part of the story revolves around the separation period as we see it’s a difficult journey for Declan, one for which he has to travel alone for a while, and begin to see what he most wants in this world and what he’s willing to do to get it.

I loved the story and the narration was superb. John Orr’s narrator voice was different from the inflections he gave to Declan and Lucas and they were different from Mack, Oliver and Hayden who all return for a cameo appearance. He also brought reality to each scene— from panting to, crying, laughing, and sighing— all were done to perfection. I would normally give this story 4 stars but his narration is so good it moves the rating up to 4.5 overall.

I recommend this book and this series to all lovers of M/M romance, especially to those who love angst and hurt/comfort stories. The audiobook is outstanding so I recommend this format for not only this book but the entire series. Since I’ve listened to the other two books in the series, I can honestly say that they all have outstanding narration by John Orr.

Cover Art depicting a fishing boat with a blood stain on the side is by Aaron Anderson. I found that the art was a perfect depiction of the boat on which Lucas was hurt and the blood symbolic of the injuries he suffered there.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner audio book  iTunes   Audible   amazon

Book Details:

Cover Artist Aaron Anderson
Narrator John Orr
Length 6 hours and 18 minutes
AudiobooksCate AshwoodHope Cove Series by Cate Ashwood
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats eBookPaperback