A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Vespertine by Leta Blake & Indra Vaughn with Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I sat on this review for a few days because I needed to absorb just how much the story meant to me. I was overwhelmed with not only the plot but with Michael Ferraiuolo’s performance. Let’s say I know which audiobook I’m nominating for best performance next year.

On the surface, this looks like it will be a book about a priest who yearns for the love of a rock star, but it’s far from that. It’s the story of a young man who loved another young man in their teens, but not enough to overcome his desire to enter the priesthood. Add to that some (poor) advice from his mother, who focused on the wrongness of loving another man rather than the rightness of having the freedom to love whoever he chooses in whichever way he chooses, and you have a gay priest who is an LGBTQ advocate. He also runs a center for homeless LGBTQ teens supported in part by the church and in part by grants and charitable donations.

The boy he loved, Nicholas Blumfeld, had been adopted at birth by two loving and supportive parents, but Nicky ran from them and his ghosts when Jasper turned from him, and he ended up as Nico Blue, lead singer and songwriter for Vespertine. After the demands of his career, his tour, and his manager lead him to one drug too many, he ends up in rehab and ultimately returns home to the parents who still love and support him.

Nicky and Jasper renew their friendship and ultimately their love for each other. We readers have the pleasure of watching that unfold as Nicky struggles through his recovery and Jasper struggles with his decision to continue as a priest or give it up for the man he realizes he still loves. The teens in the shelter play a major supportive role in this story as does Nicky’s family and Ramona, one of his bandmates. All were well-developed characters, some of whom I’d love to meet. The authors did a beautiful job of bringing this story to life and of showing the internal and external struggles both Nicky and Jasper faced—individually and together. This is one of those love stories I will remember for a long time. In fact, I loved this audiobook so much I bought the e-book as well. I’ll be rereading and relistening for a long time to come. 

The beautiful cover design by Dar Albert features a handsome bare-chested man, a church window in the background and a guitar-playing, sunglasses-wearing rock star to the right—attractive and perfect for the story. 

Audio Sales Links: Amazon | Audible

Audio Book Details:

Published December 16th 2019 (first published September 7th 2015)
Original Title Vespertine
Edition Language English
setting Maine (United States)

An Alisa Audio Review: Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)


Rating:  2.5 stars out of 5

Joel has finally walked away from his abusive ex and is ready to meet new people. But that isn’t easy for a guy who’s shy, self-conscious, and struggling with his body image.

Andre has wanted Joel since the first time he laid eyes on him, and finally Joel is single. But Andre is a Dom and a sadist, and Joel is unapologetically vanilla. There’s no happy medium—either Andre reins in the kinky side that took him years to accept, or Joel grits his teeth and subjects himself to kinks that aren’t his thing. No matter who bends, someone’s going to be unhappy.

They agree to walk away, but they keep circling back to each other. Though their kinks might not line up, the chemistry between them sizzles and the emotional connection keeps getting deeper. But none of that will get them anywhere if they can’t find some kind of middle ground in the bedroom.

Unfortunately this was a story that did not work for me and while I understand where the author is coming from it’s not in my comfort zone.   Andre and Joel eventually find a compromise but I don’t feel an open relationship is a compromise when Andre has fully proven he can have a BDSM scene without sex but apparently it isn’t something they think can last. It just feels like they are forcing a relationship to work and I didn’t feel it would.

Michael Ferraiuolo did an alright job with the narration but from the beginning I felt the characters sounded quite hoity-toity and that annoyance last through the story.  I really wanted to like the characters but between the whining and jumping together and apart joined with sounding that way just threw it all off for me.

I like the cover art by Garrett Leigh and thought it works well for this story.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 4 hrs 10 min

Published: November 16, 2019 by Riptide

Edition Language: English

An Alisa Audio Review: Alpha Heat (Heat of Love #2) by Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)


Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5


A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.


Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.


Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.


But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.


Another great book in this series.  I felt for Xan in the first book and to see how he has struggled the last few years made my heart break.  Urho finds out about Xan in the worst possible way but what he thinks is a straight forward plan to help quickly becomes more complicated.


I loved both Xan and Urho and could easily see their struggles to accept themselves and how their lives would be but how wonderful it was once all the walls were broken down.  I also adored Xan’s omega, Caleb, he is so accepting of Xan and Urho; it’s his unconditional support that helped them the most.  Their support for each other and family in the end was great and the fact that they were pretty much giving societal standards the finger was nice.


Michael Ferraiuolo did another great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters feel their emotions as he used different voices for the characters.  I have to just say again he does speak quite slowly and with increasing the speed it was made better, which also shortens how long the book takes to listen to, if that deters anyone.


Cover art by Dar Albert is great, I love the visual of the characters together and that it follows the same style as Slow Heat.


Sales Link:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes


Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 15 hrs 22 min
Published: October 22, 2018 by Leta Blake
Edition Language: English

Series: Heat of Love #2

An Ali Audio Review: Romantic Behavior (Bad Behavior #4) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z/ Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Detective Andreas Ruffner is no fool—he’s found a man who loves him, puts up with him, and has stuck with him through hell and back, and it’s time to put a ring on it. Darren Corliss is the love of his life, and he wants the whole world to know it.

Now the fun part—the wedding!

Well, after the not-so-fun part of planning the wedding in between dealing with overbearing and impossible-to-please family members. With future mothers-in-law driving them both up a wall, the guest list growing out of control, and the wedding getting ever more complicated, Darren and Andreas have to wonder if they’re in over their heads.

But they’re going to make it to the altar if it kills them . . . and at this rate, it just might.

This was a really lovely story.  The previous three books have been action packed and have revolved around the crimes they’re trying to solve. This one was all about Andreas and Darren and their upcoming wedding. No shoot outs, no drama, no sadness. Just these two being in love and being happy. It was filled with “Awww” moments and I really enjoyed it.

The book was narrated by Michael Ferriauolo who did a very good job. He has narrated the entire series and they have all be solid performances.  I think the narration really added to the emotional aspect of the book which was lovely since it was a long road for these two MC’s and the readers.

This book should not be read as a standalone. You would need to read the previous books in the series first. Great ending to these two guy’s story.

The cover was done by Garrett Leigh.  I liked it and felt it matched the others in the series really well.  I thought it was a nice touch that this was the same style as the first three but was a different color than they were.  It was a nice representation that the MC’s are finally happy and have found their hea.
Audiobook Details:
Length: 3 hrs and 2 mins
Audible Audio, 3 pages
Published July 27th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 13th 2018)
Original TitleRomantic Behavior
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBad Behavior #4
CharactersDarren Corliss, Andreas Ruffner

An Ali Audiobook Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by L.A. Witt and Cari Z. with Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

I enjoyed this one. In this installment we find Darren and Andreas a few months down the road. Darren is still recovering from his injuries from book one so the guys are working on cold cases. They come across some cases that they realize show the pattern of a serial killer.

This had an interesting case and I thought that aspect was entertaining and well done.  I like how they took the cold case and turned it into an exciting and action packed case.

My favorite part of this book though was the development between the two MC’s. Their relationship was still tentative by the end of the first book but I really started feeling their connection in this one. They have some great scenes together. They’re both complex characters with some pretty serious family issues.  The scenes between Darren and his brother Archer are just heartbreaking.
This audiobook was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and I thought he did a really good job.  His performance really added to the vibe and feeling of the story.  It made the emotional scenes between the two main characters even more impacting.  I enjoyed both of the main character’s voices as well as all of the side characters.
Overall this was a really good read/listen.  This is the second book in the series and I do not recommend it as a standalone.  If you’ve read book one I think you will enjoy this.  If you haven’t and you’re looking for a new series to start this would be a good one
Cover Artist: will be updated once the  RT site is back up.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing’s link is unavailable atm | Amazon | Audible
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published July 2nd 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published August 19th 2017)
Original TitleSuspicious Behavior
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBad Behavior #2

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Slow Heat (Heat of Love #1) by Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This was a wonderfully crafted world and story.  Jason has just started university and isn’t supposed to find his mate yet.  Vale had resigned himself long ago to ever finding his destined mate when Jason walks in.

It was easy to connect with these characters and feel their emotions.  The world in which these characters live puts much more importance on having children than the safety of their carriers and that mindset causes Vale to push Jason away.  I could easily see how it was hard for these characters to follow the proper protocols and find their own happiness for the future.  I had some trouble with Vale continuing to have the same worry no matter how often he was told or shown there was no need.

Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job narrating this story.  I was easily able to connect with the characters feel their emotions as he used different voices for the characters.  While I enjoyed his reading of the story his speech pattern was quite slow and I had to increase the speed of the book more than I ever have before.

Cover art by Dar Albert is great and I loved the visual of the characters together.

Sales Link:  Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 14 hrs 7 min
Published: May 7, 2018 by Leta Blake
Edition Language: English

Series: Heat of Love #1

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – The Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray ~ Audiobook narrated by Michael Ferraioulo


Rating: 4 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

SilenceoftheStars[The]AUDSMEverett Blake is a successful concert violinist who holds a teaching position at Olcott School for talented young musicians in Manhattan and occasionally accepts a short stint with a local symphony since performing is a part of his life he truly loves. He’s recently been cast off by his long term partner, Pierre, a French Chef who landed his own cooking show. A perfectionist, Pierre never failed to let Everett know he wasn’t quite good enough.

Now, four months later, Everett has his own apartment in Manhattan and has hired a local contractor to remodel his kitchen. Sandy Sullivan is the principal contractor for the company in that area and when he arrives on Everett’s doorstep, the mutual attraction is immediately evident.

Sandy is sexy, fun, and an enjoyable companion as Everett discovers over drinks one night. He’s an Army vet who served multiple tours overseas but was injured in Afghanistan when a car bomb exploded and was medically discharged. Unknown to Everett, Sandy suffers from PTSD, the true reason he left the Army. His close friend was killed when that bomb exploded, and though he only suffers occasional flashbacks now, he does still suffer from vivid and frightening nightmares.

When he and Everett eventually have sex, Sandy always finds a reason to leave afterwards, making Everett think that perhaps Sandy isn’t looking for a relationship. Everett, handsome, wealthy and educated, has always chosen to be in a relationship with a man before having sex, and he thought that’s what he and Sandy had started so he’s disappointed each time Sandy goes. When Sandy finally does stay over one night, Everett learns why Sandy always leaves when Everett wakes Sandy in the middles of a nightmare and finds himself thrown to the floor.

Eventually, Sandy decides to seek the help of a psychologist who specializes in PTSD because he’s starting to care for Everett, and he realizes his PTSD and related nightmares are affecting their budding relationship. Sandy’s goal in life has always been to have a large, happy family in a nice home with a wonderful life partner, or husband now that same sex marriage is possible. However, he now believes it’s too late for him, and he faces a struggle to work through his PTSD issues and his thoughts and feelings about his life plans. In the meantime, he and Everett are growing closer and Everett surprises Sandy by standing up for him when they go to meet Everett’s snobby parents. But it’s the little things that Everett does for him, the quiet and strong support he shows in many ways, that eventually helps Sandy more than anything else.

This is a wonderful story about love and relationships, a hurt-comfort story in which both men learn and grow due to being with each other. Everett is not without his own revelations in this story as he re-examines his feelings about love and family and commitment. The narrator, Michael Ferraioulo, does an excellent job in vocalizations of the characters as well as in the overall narration. He has one of those voices that is a pleasure to listen to, and I found that I carried my iPhone around with me all day so that I could listen to this story no matter what I was doing—just like being unable to put down a good book.

Though it is second in a series, there’s no need to read the first one, but I have to admit that now that I’ve met a few characters from that story, I’ll likely go back and read (or listen to) that one too.

Cover by Aaron Anderson depicts a head shot of a man on a solid white background with the title and a music score superimposed over his face. This is a nice way to depict the importance of music in the life of MC Everett while picturing a man who I assume is MC Sandy.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press Audio Book          iTunes   Audible

Book Details:

Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo
Length 7 hours and 0 minutes
Categories:AudiobooksKate McMurrayStars that Tremble and Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray
Book Type Audiobook
Other Formats: eBook, Paperback