A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review : Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

TJ Klune has the most incredible imagination of any author I know.  I’m at a loss for words to describe just how phenomenal this story was.  No wait… Let’s call this a saga, not a story, because that’s truly what it is and we are only midway through this unique experience. The author recently announced that he has plans for two more books in the series and the epilogue gives us a clue as to what the next one will be.  OMG!  I can’t wait! 

Gordo Livingstone is a witch.  In fact, he’s the witch for the Bennett Clan and he’s the soulmate of Mark Bennett, uncle of Joe, the current alpha.  We met these two star-crossed lovers in book one, Wolfsong. This is their story.

Through intermittent flashbacks, the author cleverly lets us see how Gordo’s life was shaped—his evil father who killed his mother when she killed his father’s tether, a woman with whom he was having an affair.  His mother always taught him that wolves can’t be trusted. They need you and use you but don’t really love you.  Though he might scoff at that lesson intellectually, she managed to ingrain the lesson emotionally. 

Gordo thought he was done with the pack when they all moved away and left him behind. Their departure cemented his mother’s lessons deep in his heart.  Now they are back and Gordo tries to ignore Mark Bennett with every breath he takes. It’s not easy.  In fact, the song between his raven and Mark’s wolf is crying to be heard.  When outside forces intervene in the quiet town of Green Creek and hope is at its lowest, the Bennett pack, assisted by their witch and the humans who support them, gather their reserve strength to fight a battle that must be won. 

I am not going to include any spoilers for this book in my review.  I will say that the plot is complex, with multiple layers of deceit, intrigue, and evil that goes back many years.  There are characters here I love to hate and those I hate to love.  Mark and Gordo seem to be ill-fated and much of the book left me feeling as if my stomach were in knots. But I kept moving forward. Avidly. There’s no way I could turn off this audiobook, even to eat, never mind sleep.  And the ending was worth the wait.

Kirt Graves is as outstanding in his performance of this audio as he was in Wolfsong. The cast of hundreds each has a distinctive voice.  I totally forgot that a man narrated the book when a woman spoke, and I loved the pitch, tone, and accent he assigned to Gordo.  As much as I highly recommend the story itself, I recommend listening to this audio.   It’s beyond description.  A must buy, for sure. 

The cover by Reese Dante is similar to Wolfsong’s cover and features red lettering against a dark gray background with a paw print on the lower corner—a paw print that seems to be clawing the ground as it leaves a trail of gouges in the dirt. 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, 21 pages
Published December 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 31st 2018)
Original Title Ravensong
ASINB07L4T61RZ
Edition Language English
Series Green Creek #2

A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn/Kirt Graves (Narrator

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire – if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the sociology department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least, not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk his heart when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Any hockey romance is an autoread or listen for me.  I just can’t help myself, especially so one by author Avon Gale.  So I was really looking forward to listening to the new audiobook, Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn as narrated by Kirt Graves.

The first in a new series, I’m hoping it follows others in the Atlanta Venom team because several come across just as layered and interested as Tristan.  Tristan actually is my favorite character here, thoughtful, big hearted, intelligent, and sexy.  What’s not to love?  In comparison, professor Sebastian, who is older, comes off as judgmental, temperamental, and not as easy to connect with.  Oh, yes, and he’s a bit of a Dom.  Not that he’s not believable, Sebastian is, its just that he’s not so easy to like at first.

It’s lust at first sight, the liking comes later.  For both the characters and the reader.  At least for me.

As always, the hockey element is amazing.  From the interplay on ice to the team dynamics, the  game comes live and the love for all aspects of hockey is something that you can just feel as an active ingredient in this wonderful story.  It’s the foundation, framework, and spice that adds energy to everything that happens here.

The characters are so solid that even the supporting secondary cast feel just as noteworthy as Tristan and Sebastian.  You want to know more about each and every person you come in contact with and hope that new stories that arrive happen to bring these people further under the microscope.

I loved the romance, as stressful and argumentative as it got at times.  The authors made it, well, if not easy, then each characters perspective accessible.  Together the men are hot and sexy, the D/s was something they were exploring together as Tristan was new to the idea of a submissive role.  The heat factor here?  Off the charts.

Kirt Graves handled all of the roles and voices beautifully, no matter the gender.  It was easy to differentiate each character, and he made the story flow quickly.  I will definitely seek out more stories narrated by him.

Now I can’t wait for the next in the series.  Doesn’t matter whether it is the eBook or audiobook version.  I may want both.

In the meantime, I highly recommend this audiobook version for all lovers of contemporary romance with a hockey base.

 

Cover art is perfect.  Love the bench and the player with his skates.

Sales Links:    Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 7 hours and 53 minutes

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published October 30th 2017)
ASINB07D2JH1XZ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHat Trick #1
CharactersTristan Holt, Sebastian Cruz, Ryu Mori, Trevor Morley, Daniel Bellamy settingAtlanta, Georgia (United States)

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn /Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and was excited to get the chance to review it.  For the most part there wasn’t a big amount of drama in this story but that was fine with me.  Poe hasn’t found any real direction for his life but Jericho gives him the chance to find one or at least clean up his life.

Poe is a bit resistant to finding another outlet for his art but soon finds how much he can really do with tattooing.  Jericho was rescued by someone when he was in trouble when he was younger and thinks that’s what he’s doing with Poe.  I loved seeing these two work through their feelings while trying to navigate their current friendships.  It was great to be able to see how both of these characters felt about each other and how they are willing to compromise.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

This is the first story I have listened to by Kirt Graves and he did a great job narrating this story.  He did a wonderful job of portraying the characters’ emotions and feelings.  The different voices he used for the characters helped me to keep track of what was going on and the characters’ personality.

Cover art by Natasha Snow is great and I love the visual of Jericho.

Sales Links:  AudibleAmazoniTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 7hrs 7min
Published February 20, 2018 (ebook first published August 7, 2017) by Riptide Publishing
Edition Language: English

 

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) by Rosalind Abel and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.

Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.
Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.
 
 
I think this book is the kind people will love or hate.  It’s either your cup of tea or not.  The story is insta-love and full of sugary sweetness.  I tend to gravitate towards more gritty stories but this was a nice change of pace for me.  The small town the story takes place in is charming as are the characters.  I really enjoyed both of the the main characters and I loved seeing them get together.  
 
 I generally don’t care for insta-love story but something about this one was fun and made me happy.  There was something really romantic about many of the scenes.  It was also a very sexy read.  That’s not something that I necessarily look for in a book but I have to admit that some of these scenes were smoking hot.
 
As I noted from other reviewers, this author is a pen name for author Brandon Witt.  I haven’t read anything by him yet but I understand that this is different than his usual work.
 
This audiobook was narrated by Kirt Graves and I thought he did a very good job.  I thought both MC’s were well done and they were distinctive enough that I never had a hard time telling who was talking.  The narrator also did a good job on the many side characters.  I think the narration added to the romance of the story.
 
If you’re looking for a no angst, sweet, romantic story you should check out this book.  This is apparently going to be a multiple book series and I think you will all enjoy your time in Lavender Shores.
 
Cover:  I like the cover a lot.  I feel it’s visually appealing and I think the colors and flowers set the romantic tone of the story.
Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published September 13th 2017 by Wings of Ink Publications, LLC (first published June 20th 2017)
ASIN B075JPLHKQ
Edition Language English
setting California (United States) 

A Lila Audiobook Review: Whiskey Business (States of Love) by Avon Gale and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder’s ultimate goal is to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.

Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home, in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder is to his tastes.

Whiskey Business is a sweet, simple story of two men searching for their place within their families’ legacies. It has a bit of a supernatural feel, closer to magical realism than any paranormal tint. But overall, it only enhances the reading experience and adds to the town’s legend and unusual inhabitants. All the puns based on the Gallows Grove’s name and history give the story a comedic relief and sense of home.

Most times, I prefer one MC over the other, but in this case, Adam and Ryder are equally loving and interesting. There aren’t the traditional men portrait in most romances and perhaps that adds to their charms. Yes, their story follows a traditional trope, but they add their own spin.

All the secondary characters and the town itself play an important part in this story. It’s a novella with all the components of a well-written novel. There’s no angst or deep sadness, but the MCs longing for a legacy of their own without erasing their families’ achievements is a constant they both dealt with. And to make it all better, we get a very sweet HEA.

This is my first audiobook by Kirt Graves and I enjoyed the distinction he created between the main characters. The play of words he used to highlight the author’s words in this matter and how important the accents were to understand the differences between those living in different part of the state was excellent. The secondary characters were as well developed.

I’m not familiar with Aaron Anderson’s work, but this cover goes perfectly with the story and its simplicity.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 6 hours 14 minutes
Published: April 18, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B06ZYDB6ZV
Edition Language: English

An Ali Audiobook Review: The Imperfection of the Swans by Brandon Witt and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.

With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.
 
This was a well written story about two men trying to build a business from the rubble and finding love in the process.  It’s also about how we don’t always see ourselves as others see us.  The strength in this story, in my opinion, is the great character developing that this author did.  Both of the MC’s are well done, but Kevin in particular was multifaceted and complex.  He struggles with anxiety and an eating disorder and his struggles were looked at in a honest, heart felt manner.  We get a detailed picture of the hardships he struggles with.
The pacing is slow and the relationship is a slow burn.  The two men are just business partners at first but as they get to know each other better they realize they are falling in love.  I appreciated that the author didn’t magically heal Kevin with Casper’s love.  It is clear both MC’s know Kevin will have struggles and possible setbacks but it is something they will work through together.
The author notes that this story is based on a real life friend and the struggles he has gone through with an eating disorder.  I think it’s an important story to tell.  It is not just females who struggle with these issues every day.  
I felt that this a was a slow and quiet story, but an important one.
This audiobook was narrated by Kirt Graves and I thought he did a great job.  I really enjoyed his voice and I though he did a good job on both Kevin and Casper as well as the many side characters.  I find this narrator to be consistently good.
Cover art by Paul Richmond:  I love the cover.  The guy on it is gorgeous, but more importantly, he’s the friend the author wrote the story for/about and I think it’s just a wonderful thing he has done by honoring him on the cover of this important book.
Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook
Published March 14th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published January 18th 2016)
ASINB06XK7C5R2
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
murmuration-audioIn the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

The people here know certain things as fact:

Amorea is the best little town there is.

The only good Commie is a dead Commie.

The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.

And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.

Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves


But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
So this book is a trip. It’s impossible to discuss the plot without spoilers so I’m going to skip that. I will say that this book had me hooked from the beginning. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on. Then part way in I thought I had figured it out. I was wrong. Then I had a new theory and I was part way right. And then…….gah. (I could do this all day.) 

Here’s what you need to know. The writing was fantastic. It is some of TJ’s best work imo. I literally couldn’t put this down because I was dying to know what was going on. There are plot points that I really disliked. Plot points I’m not comfortable with. And yet……..I was captivated by this story.

There is a really unique romance. It’s so different than anything I’ve ever read before. It’s this sweet, pure, 1950’s courting type romance and I never would have thought that was my thing but apparently it is. (I still need my smut and won’t be running off to find these kind of romances in general but it really worked with the plot).

The end keeps you guessing. I mean right up to the very end. The very last paragraph or two. I was holding my breathe and while I knew I was intrigued I under estimated how emotionally invested I was because all of a sudden I had tears in my eyes. 

I did most of this on audio and the narrator, Kirt Graves, was excellent. One of the best I’ve listened to. I got about half way through on audio and then switched to reading because I was so impatient to find out what was going to happen. I then switched back to audio for the last few chapters. If you like audios I recommend doing this story that way. It was top notch and really added to the overall storytelling. 
Cover by Reese Dante: I love the cover.  I had seen the guy on the cover on some other books so I didn’t think much about it going into this story.  After reading it though, I have to say the cover is perfect for the story.  
Sales Links
 
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio
Published January 16th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published October 28th 2016)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Wolfsong by TJ Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

wolfsong-audiobookOh my! This was the very best shifter story I’ve ever read! A master of intricate plots, TJ Klune applied his very vivid imagination to creating an intriguing, complex drama that also happens to be a sweet story of a love between a man and a wolf—a love fated to last for all time. Add to that, the very talented voice of narrator Kirt Graves, and I could have listened to this eighteen-hour audiobook for another eighteen hours without being the least bit bored. Every time I thought it was coming to an end, a new plot twist was thrown out to intrigue readers and listeners even more.

Ox was a plain-speaking, easygoing, simple man with no expectations for himself beyond being good to his mother. After all, his daddy always told him he’d get nothing but shit in life before his daddy left for good. Ox lived with his mom near the big house at the end of the lane that was vacant for years, until one day he came home to find a boy standing in the road—a boy named Joe, who now lived in the big house. Ox didn’t know it then, but this talkative, high energy boy would someday be the focus of his world.

The author takes us into that world—the world of werewolves and magic—and what an adventure we get! It’s not pretty; it’s not sweet and fluffy romance; it’s gritty, and powerful, and gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and heartwarming drama. But when I finished, I wanted to howl and sing their wolfsong.

It’s not often that I’m at a loss for words, but I don’t think there are enough adjectives to describe how incredible this book is. And the narration? Outstanding and superb are somehow too inadequate to do it justice. Just buy it and listen and wallow in the joy of having found the best book of the year.

The cover by Reese Dante features two paw prints on a black background—striking in its simplicity.

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

18 hrs 40 mins
Audible Audio, 19 pages

Published October 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 20th 2016)
Original TitleWolfsong
ASINB01LX3DCUR
Edition LanguageEnglish