A MelanieM Audio Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Tommy Gordon is all set for happily ever after—until heartbreak strikes when his husband-to-be leaves him at the altar. In a bid for distraction, his best friend, Grayson Phillips, suggests he takes advantage of the luxury honeymoon anyway! But the last thing Tommy wants is to go alone, so he invites Grayson and his son, Petey, along. Beautiful Bonaire lends itself to romance, and along with close quarters, relaxing on the water, and a matchmaking kid, Tommy and Grayson soon find themselves closer than ever… and considering more, much to Grayson’s delight. But before they can plan the best honeymoon ever, dark clouds descend in the form of Tommy’s ex and a sting from paradise that could ruin everything.

I don’t think I’ve ever come across a review where a wonderful narrator actually made the story worse in places instead  of better but I really think that’s what happened here in The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey and as narrated by John Solo.

Don’t get me wrong, the story has many terrific elements.  As a tour guide and promotional package for Bonaire?  Absolutely breathtaking.  Made me want to hop on a plane and take snorkeling lessons.  This story really highlighted the island in the best way possible along with the environmental factors to help preserve its beauty and the safety of all the animals there.  Grey used Petey, Grayson’s son, to stand in for all of us in his enthusiasm for all that he saw in and out of the water.  Turtles, fish,it didn’t matter because  his joy and laughter was infectious.

Truly, the character of Petey is one of my favorite things about this novel, outside of Bonaire.

His father, Grayson, is up there too, among the highlights of the story.  A great dad, friend, and, apparently, someone who has long held more than friendly thoughts towards Tommy Gordon, his attitude and personality was also a positive note in the story. Thank goodness, because next to Tommy, this story really needed one.

Yes, Tommy is my issue here.  I think had I just been reading the story, I might have been able to gloss over (read skim through) some of his more annoying  sections.   But no, I was listening to John Solo who was bringing alive Petey and Grayson and all the other people in the story, giving them each their own quirks and nuances.  So yes he did the same to Tommy.  Who in my opinion became almost someone I wanted to tell to “shut up and stop whining” time and again.  Yes, he’d been left at the altar, by someone who then tried to steal from him.  HIs behavior after inviting his best friend and son on his honeymoon?  Terrible and beyond whiny into needy .  Listening to him  made it soooo much worse.  It made it real.  How I wished to tell Grayson and Petey to enjoy the vacation and then go find someone worthy of them.  Luckily towards the end of the book he got better..a tad and the relationship one I could at least listen to as a friends to lovers sort.

So loved the father and son relationship, loved the son and his experiences on Bonaire, loved Bonaire.  Really, I need to plan a trip there sometime. As much as I adore friends to lovers stories, this was one I had some trouble with, mostly due to Tommy.  Others won’t have issues with him and will like this story better than I did. It’s all about perspective.

John Solo’s narration is wonderful as always.

Cover art: Bree Archer.  Bright, happy, although I would wish for Petey to be present as well.

Sales Links;  Dreamspinner Press| AmazonAudible

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 5 hours and 49 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Audible.com Release Date: January 15, 2019
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07MJRRGS5

A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Perfect Catch by N.R. Walker

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

perfect-catchCalvin Lynch and Troy Hoffman have been best mates since they were fourteen years old. They’re both hard-working tradesmen, both love weekends away fishing, both gay, but have never been single at the same time. Until now.

What is supposed to be a weekend away fishing with a group of mates, changes at the last minute when friends bail out in an attempt to give Cal and Troy some alone time.

With more than just hooks on the line, can these two see what’s been right in front of them the whole time?

The Perfect Catch is a short story about falling for your best friend hook, line, and sinker.

A 20K short story which was part of the It Was Always You anthology.

I missed out on this anthology somehow but I thrilled that I got to read NR Walker’s Perfect Catch as a standalone.  This is as close to perfect a ‘friends to lovers’ story can be in a short format.  The author gives us Calvin and Troy’s background as tight mates from their teens, their circle of friends, who by the way have long recognized how much these men have loved each other, and the deep, abiding bond that exists between Cal and Troy.   One weekend of camping and fishing, something the men have always done together, brings out all the hidden feelings, all the longing, all the revelations in a way that I can only call the NR Walker way.  Its superb, heartwarming, and delightful.

Told from Calvin’s pov, we get the sense of old friends working effortlessly as they prepare for their camping trip, the Ute packed, gear stowed as it has hundreds of times.  Yet this trip? New thoughts are churning in Cal’s head, and perhaps, Troy’s too.  Put there by their friends who deliberately backed out of coming with them and their own desires.

Slowly, bit by bit, over the trip, as they fish, eat, and watch each other, the sexual tension and knowledge that things are changing builds.  Its delicious, we want it to never end and we want it to stop immediately.  Because we have fallen in love with these men and we want them to be happy.

Oh, those sex scenes are hot when they finally happen.  Fans self.

Only the ending kept this from being 5 stars.  It was either too long or not long enough.  I still can’t decide.  Probably not long enough.  It is N.R. Walker after all.  I can never get enough of her stories or couples.

If you  missed out on the anthology, or this story,   grab it up immediately.  This is one you definitely won’t want to miss!  I’m on my way to rereading it once more.

Cover art is perfect for the story and couple

Sales Links

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 63 pages
Published January 10th 2017
Original TitlePerfect Catch
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Thirty Things coverAll their lives, Finn and Nate have been inseparable, sharing everything, and when a childhood accident left Finn broken, Nate stood by his side as all his other friends left. After all their years together, there’s one secret Finn still hasn’t revealed: he has been in love with Nate since they were eight years old. Hiding his feelings for twenty-one years—terrified of what might happen if Nate ever found out—has been difficult, but losing his best friend would be worse than living with a bad case of unrequited love.

Unfortunately for Finn, Nate doesn’t make it easy.

Nate believes there are some things that just have to be done before your thirtieth birthday. As a gift to Finn, he plans an adventure to check off a list of thirty things to experience before hitting that milestone. Starting in Crawfordsville, Indiana, they tour the country, trying new things and meeting interesting new people. Nate’s having the time of his life, but he can tell Finn is holding something back. As the days count down, navigating the back roads suddenly seems easier than figuring out where their relationship is heading.

One thing’s for certain. There will be no turning back.

Thirty Things by Cate Ashwood was a perfect reading, it caught me from the start. I simply loved it! I don’t have a lot to say about it. Do you ever have that feeling of satisfaction and completeness when you have just finished a book? When you have nothing to complain about, just good feelings? Thirty Things was like that to me. I’m a huge fan of Cate Ashwood works. I love how she writes and in particular Keeping Sweets is one of the first mm books I ever read. It stayed in my heart and I was so happy to found a little (very little) more about Evan and Bran in this book too.

There’s nothing special in this book, and when I say nothing special I mean there’s no drama, no angst, no mystery to solve, but this book is special. It was a joy to read. So peaceful, light, easy, hopeful, entertaining from page one till the end. I can’t find one little reason to give Thirty Things less than five stars.

Nate and Finn are best friends since kindergarten, they live together, Nate is a writer and Finn is an editor. Finn has been in love with Nate for twenty-one years, but Nate is straight. Just when he starts thinking it’s time to put a little space between them and maybe start looking for someone else, Nate treats him with a road trip for his thirtieth birthday, with a list of thirty things to do before he turns thirty. We’ll see them going through scary bungee jumping, spending an amazing night in a tree-houses, watching delusional rodeo shows, but most of all they will discover that the fear of losing a true friendship like the one they have has no real basis. Sometimes being with someone who knows you better than you know yourself is the most beautiful things that can happened in your life.

These two guys have a beautiful friendship. Nate in particular was the only one to stay by Finn side when Finn, only seven years old, had a bad accident that left him with a reduced mobility in the legs.

“I am so proud of you, every day, for doing what you do. I know you’re in pain, and you never show it. You are the strongest person I know, but sometimes strength means accepting help from other people. I have always been, and will always be here to support you. It’s not a sign of weakness to fall on me if you need me. I will always catch you. So let me catch you, Finn.”

I think it’s the first time I read a “friends to lovers” story in which the author decides to approach the switch from friends to lovers in a so easy way. It was a pleasure to read it. We get some glimpse of their life together, some important moments to remember, but the story isn’t made of them, it’s made of present events. Moreover I usually prefer to have an alternate POV between MCs so I can be able to know both of them better. In this book we get just Finn prospective and I didn’t need Nate’s one. It felt complete to me.

Highly recommended!

Cover art by Alexandria Corza. I loved the book and I loved the cover. It gave me the same peaceful feeling and it represents the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press      All Romance (ARe)       Amazon      Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published April 3rd 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 210 pages, also available in paperback
ISBN13 9781632169006
Edition language English