A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club #2) by Marie Sexton and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I highly doubt I can do justice to this story in a simple review. In one word: phenomenal. I listened to the audio version narrated by John Solo so much of my praise is due directly and indirectly to his outstanding narration.

On the surface, this is the story of River, an ER physician who’s just lost his husband to a fellow doctor and is struggling to come to terms with his own identity. Among his issues, besides being devastated by his husband’s infidelity, is his failure to be able to have penetrative sex and, in fact, his frequent failure to achieve an erection. Add to that the stresses of taking graveyard shift in the ER, which he’s chosen to do to avoid his ex who has day shift, and he’s just a powder keg waiting to go off. The unlucky victim of his latest blowup is the hospital pharmacist, Phil. But Phil doesn’t just stand still and take verbal abuse. He shows River his own errors, and ultimately not only does River back down, but he later seeks Phil out to apologize, something unheard of among that hospital’s physicians.

What he learns is that Phil is interested in him, but Phil doesn’t do regular relationships. He only does domestic servitude, and he never reacts emotionally—neither to sex nor to situations where others might expect some reciprocation.

Below the surface story lies the true depth found in this book (pun intended). It depicts an emotional, often painful journey to discovery for both River and Phil. This journey encompasses River’s acceptance of Phil’s domination, Phil’s own struggles with deeply buried emotions, the turmoil and upheaval of having River’s estranged husband hound him constantly to sign the divorce papers, and River’s deep-seated issues surrounding his twin’s death and his subsequent emotional separation from his family. Over and above all that, Phil’s grandfather, Pops, is in an extended care facility on the other side of the Denver metro area and suffers from dementia. Phil visits him weekly and loves him a great deal though he finds it difficult to express how deeply he cares for the man. Pops inadvertently plays a role in helping River discover some of the joy he felt in his childhood, when camping and fishing with his family, and that joy splashes over into a ripple effect that encompasses Phil.

There are appearances by Warren and Taylor, from Trailer Trash, and other members of the Heretic Dom’s Club, primarily Gray and Charlie. Each of these men is developing as a strong, supportive character in these stories, and I hope each gets his own love someday. For River and Phil, the struggle is long and real and fraught with undermining from coworkers, a theft from the hospital pharmacy, and an ultimatum by River’s ex who throws a major monkey wrench into River’s new developing relationship. The audio is over fourteen wonderful hours of pure entertainment. Compelling, riveting, dramatic, completely engrossing, I was literally unable to stop listening except for time out to recharge my cordless headphones and to sleep (but only one night because this book deserved my devotion for two solid days.)

I highly recommend this to anyone remotely interested in D/s relationships, with a focus on domestic servitude, and those who enjoy a long, slow journey to a highly rewarding destination. And most definitely, get the audio. It’s pure listening pleasure.

Cover art is dramatic and pulls your eye towards the book. Works.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Details:

14 hrs 20 mins

Audible Audio, 15 pages
Published August 13th 2018 by Marie Sexton (first published June 25th 2018)
Original TitleTerms of Service
ASINB07G9LRXMX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Heretic Doms Club #2
settingColorado (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review : Will & Patrick Wake Up Married Series (Episodes 1-3) by Leta Blake & Alice Griffiths /John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

OMG! I was hooked within the first ten minutes of this 11 1/2 hour audiobook. John Solo did a spectacular job interpreting the humor the authors infused throughout every page. His vocalizations and sound effects were spot-on. And the voice he gave each of the MCs was perfect for their characters.

I already hit one-click to purchase the second volume: books 4-6 in e-book format because I cannot wait one moment to pick up where this one left off. Will I listen to the audio when it comes out? If John Solo narrates it, you bet I will. And I very highly recommend everyone hurry to pick up this audiobook. This will most definitely make your day.

Quick summary – Will Patterson is a sweetheart—a young man who suffers from type I diabetes and is attempting to recover from alcoholism.  He slips spectacularly at a medical conference in Las Vegas and finds himself married to neurosurgeon Dr Patrick McCloud. For financial reasons, they can’t divorce or have the marriage annulled. Will’s connected to organized crime and the funds he inherited through the mob side of the family, with which he’s doing altruistic work to help the people in his town, will disappear if he doesn’t marry for love and/or if he ever divorces or annuls his marriage.

Patrick can’t believe his luck. Bad luck, that is. Well, maybe not. Will is hot and as time goes by Patrick finds more to love than not love about Will. Patrick is full of snark and vinegar though, and God forbid anyone find out he’s really a nice guy. No way. 

The major problem they have, other than the fact they got drunk married, is that Will is not over his ex. Ryan is annoying and very passive-aggressive and quite full of himself. I am hoping he gets his comeuppance by the end of the series. In the meantime, this volume ends on a high note. The guys have decided to stay together for now, enjoying a friends-with-benefits sort of relationship, with all the sex Will wants, and that’s something the never had with Ryan. Patrick’s heart seems to be getting engaged, so I have no doubt the next volume is going to be a treat. And I’m starting that the minute I finish this review.

Most highly recommended! In audio, for sure.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Audible Audio, 1st edition, 12 pages
Published May 24th 2019 by Leta Blake Books (first published May 2nd 2016)
ASINB07S98HFY4
Edition Language English
Series Wake Up Married #1-3

BOOK 4-6 Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 4 – 6: Fight Their Feelings, Meet the Mob, Happy Ending

A MelanieM Audio Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Anything but business as usual.

Billionaire CEO Nic Price lives for his job. With sales down and grumbling from the board of directors—including Nic’s permanently dissatisfied father—the last thing Nic needs is distraction from the new manny, whose freewheeling approach to childcare is outlandish… and who makes Nic feel things he’s never allowed himself to feel.

Ex-teacher Sasha Lindsey is all about fun—that’s the reason people love him, so he has to be. After a bad break-up leaves him jobless and homeless, the live-in manny job with Mr. Price seems like a windfall. But his chemistry with Nic is off the charts, and he can’t afford another workplace romance disaster.

Can Nic leave his dominance in the bedroom and open his heart to the best thing that’s ever happened to him? Or will Sasha’s leap of faith backfire and ruin his chances at the family happily ever after he’s always dreamed of?

If you’re looking to listen to your next contemporary romance, then I can definitely recommend The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister as narrated by John Solo.  Another in Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires’ line, it has that wonderful manny trope I’m so fond of combined with elements of the holiday and two men who really end up rescuing each other, along with two kids.  Somehow they all end up a family at Christmas.  Can’t ask for better romance and heartwarming story than that.

Plus one of my favorite narrators is rolling out the tale. That would be John Solo.

Solo goes from character to character, age group (preteen to adult to stern aged father) easily.  He also manages the transition from gender just as smooth.

Angela McCallister gives us two men damaged and more than a little broken by their upbringing and their parents.  Sasha has been left debt ridden and with the feeling that he must always be “fun, lighthearted, and together”, no matter how dark and depressed he actually is. That no one would ever caer for the true Sasha. That person would always be left behind as not worthy of attention.  Even as his parents constantly let him down today, Sasha can’t pull out or away from the issues they installed in him.

Nic Price, wealthy, successful CEO, driven, oh so driven,  is in the same state, although he would hardly recognize it.  Beaten down by his parents high expectation, he’s reduced his life to meeting his father’s increasingly high demands to excel or lose his position at the company.  His family’s company.  He’s working 24/7, and it’s showing in his lack of care over his niece and nephew.

The author does an excellent job of bring us into the mindset of each man in their difficult situations.  The stress they are under and then put them together under one roof where we watch how their personalities mesh, they start to bring out the best in each other (and the children) while dealing with an entirely new set of issues for each.  Somestimes the scens were funny and evoked warmth and love, others heartbreak and tears. But they always felt authentic and believable.

If I had a quibble here, it was that I didn’t get enough of Sasha’s background and his parents.  Were they wealthy, formerly wealthy?  While we knew all about Nic and his history, Sasha’s were curiously lacking and I wanted to know more about his history and the parents that were obviously still having such an impact on his life.  That hole was one of the things that brought the rating down.

But other than that and perhaps a too fast “in love” relationship, this was just everything I wanted in a contemporary romance.  And in a audio version.  The narration was terrific and the story heartwarming and lovely.  The time just flew by and it was over before I realized it.  I will be looking forward to the next in the series and hope that John Solo will be narrating that as well.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Nice but could have done without the boat.  The house and the tree, or some of the other scenes would have been better choices.

Sales Links:   | Amazon | Audible |

Audio Book Details;

Listening Length: 7 hours and 5 minutes

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 18th 2018)
ASINB07QFSJ1QD
Edition Language English
Series Beyond the Boardroom #1
Literary Awards Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Romance (2019)

An Ali Audio Review: Handle with Care by Cari Z and John Solo (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

I am always leery about reading books where a MC is a social worker. That’s the field I work in and I drive myself crazy when authors don’t get stuff right.  I decided to give it a try anyways because I’m a fan of this author’s and it includes two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and road trips. 
 
This was well done and I enjoyed it.  Aaron and his best friend take off for Kansas to go to a wedding.  Along the way Aaron has to deal with a variety of insecurities and unresolved issues from his childhood.  Tyler is there to be a support and as they go along they realize that they’re falling in love.
 
The book is fairly short so a lot of the issues were dealt with a bit more superficially than I would have preferred  (I want ALL the angst) but it was still entertaining.  Their romance was lovely and sweet and I really liked them together.  It was one of those book couples you are rooting for.
 
The audiobook is narrated by John Solo and I thought he did a very good job.  I have liked all of his narrations that I have listened to.  I think a good narrator can really add depth and emotion to a story which I feel was the case here.
 
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Alexandria Corza.  I don’t really care for it.  The Dreamspun series has had various formats for the books in it and this format was one of my least favorites. 
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible
Audio Details:
Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published February 21st 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 16th 2018)
ASIN1644054906
Edition LanguageEnglish

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 Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Well, I’m almost at a loss for words for this review.  First of all, I listened to the audiobook and kudos to John Solo for a great job portraying a variety of voices, both male and female, especially given the MCs were teenagers.

Second, I must be honest in that I thought the story ended rather abruptly.  I knew it was first in a series but I didn’t realize so many threads would remain open when the book ended. And suddenly it was over.

And third, the plot was incredibly complex as it dealt with computer programming, coding, and electronic communication. The espionage business is alive and well in this story. So kudos to the author for a complicated and interesting plot.

Theo is a high school hockey player whose parents are both spies. Though only sixteen, his genius is more than welcome in their organization—TOS: Tactical Operational Support—and he’s their go-to guy when the electronics get complex. His code name is Winger, and in this installment, Winger is called upon to stop whatever group is behind the plot to deactivate the tracking devices each agent has implanted. Things go from bad to worse when they find the devices have been taken over and the enemy is using them to mind-control the agents. And that includes Winger’s dad who goes missing. Amidst the espionage plot, Theo and his boyfriend Eddie try to find alone time, though Eddie is injured, while stopping a kidnapping attempt on Theo.  The plot is very complex with mystery, romance, and lots of computer geek speak.

I’d recommend it to those who enjoy a YA story, especially when mixed with espionage and intrigue.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.    The cover is a close-up of a young man’s face and superimposed on the background of that is a computer grid, no doubt in recognition of his talents. It’s gray in tone so not very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, length 6.22 hrs
Published December 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 17th 2017)
Series Codename: Winger #1

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Courageous Ride (The Bullriders #3) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating 4 stars out of 5

Aspiring orchestra conductor Marshall is exhausted after months of auditions without a single job offer. When a friend recommends a change of scenery in the form of a dude ranch run by former bull rider Indigo Santana, Marshall heads there for a break.

Indigo and Marshall are immediately attracted, but Indigo’s confidence is shot after an injury ended his rodeo career, and he walks with a slight limp. He hasn’t been anywhere near a bull since he was hurt, and his personality makes for a pretty gruff host for a dude ranch. He’d really rather be bull riding, and the only reason he keeps guests is because his family ranch is all but bankrupt.

Though mismatched on the outside, the hearts of these two men know a kindred spirit and romance is in the air during the short time they spend together. Marshall is so relaxed, in fact, that music comes to him and he composes an orchestra movement that brings his love of both the ranch and Indigo together.

Unfortunately, he’s offered a position in New York, and with encouragement from Indigo, he decides to take it, breaking up the couple before they have a chance to get solid. Naturally, Andrew Grey finds a way to get them to see what they are missing and to come together for an HEA that underlines the importance of love and family.

John Solo does a great job narrating this story with a wide variety of vocalizations, both male and female. He swept me along with this tale of the West, and I definitely recommend it to others to enjoy in the audio format.

~~~

The cover by LC Chase depicts the upper body of a young man in dress shirt and vest with a dreamy look on his face and there’s a handsome cowboy standing behind the young man. A small photo of a bull rider in the bottom left pane completes the view. The cover is perfect for this story and it gives readers an idea of how Marshall and Indigo look.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Release Date Jul 17, 2018
Type Novels
Length 8:26

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s hard to decide where to start for this audiobook review but I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t immediately note how beautifully John Solo narrated this story. In fact, he didn’t just narrate it—he brought it to life. The voices—both male and female—were all unique and the emotions were powerfully and poignantly portrayed. Kudos Mr. Solo! Nearly fifteen hours to this story, but it went by quickly thanks to your skillful narration.

Christopher Ryder is a sweet, young man with a beautiful voice who gave up on his dream of stardom in Nashville when it became obvious he wasn’t quite as good as the top country singers of the time. But he’s very talented and lands the job of backup to the headliner at the Smoky Mountain Dreams Amusement Park. Christopher has an interesting extended family—from his estranged mother and her Bible-beating preacher husband, to his deadbeat father, whom he hasn’t seen in years, and his terrific sister and brother-in-law, both of whom are very supportive of him, even though he’s gay. But most of all, Christopher is close to his gran, a sweet little old woman who invades his thoughts even when he’s not able to visit with her in person. She supports him 100% and has already told him her house will be his when she passes. She doesn’t care one iota that Chris came out as gay when he was younger—for her, that is no reason not to love her grandson wholeheartedly.

Because the feeling is mutual, he wants to get his gran a very special gift for the Christmas holiday this year so he approaches Jesse Birch, a talented jewelry designer. Jesse is bisexual and one look at Christopher convinces him that the country singer is not straight and that they may have some mutual fun at some point if he can find the time. He’s a full time jewelry designer and full time father to two young children in the preteen age range. His wife was permanently injured five years before in an auto accident and is now in a medically sustained coma. The only reason she hasn’t passed yet is that her sister holds an end of life document which his wife signed years before the accident. It doesn’t matter to her religious sister that she had changed her mind and that she had told Jesse she never wanted to be kept alive by machines. Though they continually battle over the issue, Jesse has yet to win the case and so life goes on in limbo for the whole family.

Now, as he and Christopher become friendly and eventually start a relationship, life is even more complicated. Jesse’s daughter seems to think her mother can come back to life and refuses to become friendly with Christopher. In fact, she believes in a story about making a thousand cranes to grant a person’s fondest wish and she’s on a quest to complete two thousand by Christmas. At first, Christopher didn’t realize Jesse’s wife was still alive, so it’s a major hurdle for him to continue a relationship with Jesse when he finds out. There are so many family issues in this story that one has to concentrate and listen carefully in order to keep everything straight and to make sure not to miss an important point.

As I said at the beginning, the audio is very long—nearly fifteen hours—so the story is highly complex, but it’s really a wonderful love story that needed every moment to build all the relationships it contains. And it doesn’t end on a perfect note with a perfect family scene, but it does end in a very satisfying manner and winds out to a beautiful Christmas season where family of origin and family of the heart hold an equal place.

I highly recommend this to all lovers of MM romance, especially slow burn, men with children, family drama, and more.

~~~

Cover art depicts a photo of two bare-chested men in a sweet loving embrace superimposed over a photo of the Smoky Mountain Range. There’s also a white paper crane in the foreground that is set up to be flying over the words in the title. All are key elements to the story and tie together to make a cohesive summary of this beautiful love story.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 14 hours and 46 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Leta Blake Books
Audible.com Release Date: October 17, 2017
Language: English
ASIN: B076FFW2XD

Review Tour for Smokey Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)

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Narrated By: John Solo
 
Length: 14hrs 46mins
 
Blurb


After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.


Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart

https://player.vimeo.com/video/237399843
SMD Sample from Leta Blake on Vimeo.



November 13 – Gay Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
November 14 – Alpha Book Club
November 15 – V’s Reads
November 16 – Diverse Reader
November 17 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Blog
November 20 – Gay Book Reviews, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Valerie Ullmer, OMG Reads
November 22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 – Bayou Book Junkie, Gay Media Reviews, Making It Happen

Author Bio

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.



Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/letablake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake
Website: https://letablake.wordpress.com

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John Solo on Narrating and Leta Blake’s Smoky Mountain Dreams Audiobook (Blog Tour and Giveaway)

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Today the narrator of Smoky Mountain Dreams, John Solo, is interviewed by the author of the book, Leta Blake. Come find out everything you want to know about narrating gay romance audiobooks and why you should read/listen to Smoky Mountain Dreams!

There are two options for this interview! You can read the answers below or listen to John’s smooth voice give you his more spontaneous answers in the following audio interview:

https://vimeo.com/242100856

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Narrator John Solo

How long have you been voice acting and narrating audiobooks?

For myself, the number for voice acting and narrating audiobooks is the same. 3 ½ years.

How many books have you narrated now and do you have any especial favorites that you’d recommend readers check out?

I’ve voiced over 90 audiobooks (I think the number is around 92 right now?). Some are under the pseudonym Jack Wayne, some are not available to the general public, but most are under John Solo.

Some of my current favorites are; “The Well,” by Marie Sexton (I’m just producing her newest book, “One Man’s Trash”, and if you are interested in the hot steamy side of things…), “Seven Card Stud” by Ava Drake (this one is kind of a hidden gem in my opinion… it has a very comedic, almost “Private Eyes” feel to it), and “Places in Time” by Cardeno C.

If you are interested in other genres and like my work, check out the Bubba the Monster Hunter series by John G. Hartness. Imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Larry the Cable Guy. It is the funniest series I’ve ever had the privilege to work on!!! “The Malaise Falchion” by Paul Barrett (narrated by me as Jack Wayne) is I think my personal favorite piece of work ever (I got to do an ogre voice… I mean, c’mon, how fun is that?!?).

And, wow, “Smoky Mountain Dreams,” by Leta Blake may be one of the best romance titles I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something!

What was your favorite part of working on Smoky Mountain Dreams?

The character growth of Jesse was intriguing to me, and as an actor, it gave me a whole lot of meat to chew on. The backdrop of the Smoky Mountains gave the entire book this… atmosphere? The same kind of thing that happens in a Tarantino flick with the music track, you know? I had almost as much fun narrating some of the descriptive narrative as I did with some of the deep emotional scenes!

You were amazing at capturing all the emotions in Smoky Mountain Dreams. As a voice actor, how hard is it to put yourself in characters’ shoes if their lives are quite different from your own?

Awwww…. Thank you! When I read things like that about me my brain automatically fires off a sound clip of Han Solo saying, “Great, kid! Now don’t get cocky…”.

Are you implying that I’m NOT an 80 year old grandmother from Gatlinburg? Seriously, though, this is exactly what makes this career so much fun!!! Remember when you were a kid, when you had this imaginary world created in your head that you could play in for hours on end without ever getting bored? I had GI Joe and Star Wars action figures handed down to me by 3 older brothers, and I absolutely treasured them! One day I was playing in a medieval fantasy world, the next I was on a spaceship… Guess what? I get to do that every day now. And you know the best part? People PAY me to do it!!! Shhhh… don’t tell my clients that it’s kinda fun.

Is it hard? Absolutely, otherwise everyone would be doing it. As a studio owner and audiobook producer (I produce close to a dozen other voice actors as well) I can’t count how many times I’ve had friends/family/relatives/acquaintances/store clerks say, “You’re a voice actor? You know, everyone tells me I have a great voice, I bet I could do that!”. Not to discourage anyone from trying, but it’s not as easy as just having a good voice and reading a book. But if it was? I wouldn’t still be enjoying it and looking forward to going to “work” every day.

I try to attach at least one or two emotions or general states of being to each character (sometimes many, many more) that I can identify with. For instance, Chris’s grandmother got the mental tag of “ornery”. While I’m not an 80 year old grandmother from Gatlinburg, I can most definitely identify with “ornery”. From there I develop a voice and often mannerisms for the character, record a preproduction voice sample, listen back, make changes, and repeat the process until I like it.

Here’s a funny side note; when working on a book where I had to voice a fairy godmother type character, I found it best to hold a pink toy wand (look, there are real wands, OK?) in my hand and gesture with it while recording her lines. Whatever works, eh? Although, that particular wand made a sound effect when you waved it, which I kept forgetting… that was a fun time editing!

If you could give readers/listeners one reason to pick up Smoky Mountain Dreams, aside from your own awesome narrating skills, what would that reason be?

I’ve produced over 300 gay romance audiobooks. I have narrated close to 80 of them myself. This book kept ME entertained from beginning to end.

 
 
Narrated By: John Solo
 
Length: 14hrs 46mins
 
Blurb


After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.


Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart

https://player.vimeo.com/video/237399843
SMD Sample from Leta Blake on Vimeo.



November 13 – Gay Book Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
November 14 – Alpha Book Club
November 15 – V’s Reads
November 16 – Diverse Reader
November 17 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Blog
November 20 – Gay Book Reviews, Reading In Sarah’s Corner, Valerie Ullmer, OMG Reads
November 22 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
November 24 – Bayou Book Junkie, Gay Media Reviews, Making It Happen

Author Bio

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family



Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/letablake
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LetaBlake
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letablake
Website: https://letablake.wordpress.com

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