A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5+ stars out of 5

To say TJ Klune is a brilliant storyteller is an understatement. Those who don’t believe need to read the Tales from Verania series. The entire series is a magical epic saga and this last installment, the ending of a story that has wound its magic in and out of my heartstrings was the epitome of amazing.  Now, add to that, the absolutely outstanding audiobook narration from the highly talented Michael Lesley, and there’s not even a stitch of room for improvement.  A superb 18 hours and 27 minutes of entertainment!

Sam of Wilds returns from the Dark Woods to find that Prince Justin and Ryan Foxheart, his beloved cornerstone, are leading a resistance movement along with (the dreaded) Lady Tina and, of course, Gary and Tiggy.  The city of Lockes has fallen and dark wizard Myrin is in control. But not for long—Sam and his dragons are back.

Unfortunately, Sam has to face the consequences of running away from the chaos he left behind.  And though he loves Ryan and can’t wait to see him, Gary and Tiggy come back first—and Gary is fit to be tied—though he does get diverted from his tirade by his one true love—Kevin the charming dragon.

I honestly don’t know which of the million or so character voices Michael Lesley used is my favorite.  Topping the list, though, is Kevin, who not only has a deep-toned Scottish accented voice, but what he says is always sexually explicit and totally inappropriate and, of course, hysterically funny.  Second to that is Darren, the fairy king.  Yes, the entire cast of characters from the series makes an appearance at one point or another in this book, and I loved every moment.  Another plus to listening to this on audio is Michael Lesley’s talent in bringing in other sound effects like turning pages in a book, creaking doors, roaring dragons, and tons more.   

The final chapter and epilogue are well worth the wait to get there.  I hope other readers were as surprised as I was by Myrin’s fate and the return of someone special to Sam’s life.  And speaking of Sam’s life…well, maybe not…no spoilers here.  All I can say is don’t miss a chance to listen to this book, no—entire series—on audio. You won’t be disappointed.  Very highly recommended.

Cover by Paul Richmond is a swirling galaxy of stars shaped like a dragon—the perfect depiction for a perfectly wonderful story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 19 pages
Published November 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 27th 2018)
Original TitleA Wish Upon the Stars
ASINB07KGHZ5XC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTales From Verania #4

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Consumption of Magic (Tales From Verania #3) by TJ Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

As is usual with TJ Klune’s stories in this series, one needs to first sit down and strap on a seat belt, and then pop on headphones if you are fortunate to be able to listen to the audiobook version narrated by the outstanding voice of Michael Lesley. Be prepared for nineteen hours of crazy sidebar dialogue (mostly courtesy of Gary, Tiggy, and Kevin), of fantasy and the world of wizards and dragons, and finally, of brilliant execution of the written word. It all comes together here, but since there’s one more book in the story, a word of caution: if you are afraid of heights you’d better take your meds—the cliffhanger in this book is a doozy!

Without going into intricate details, I’ll summarize by saying that Sam takes on not only the Great White dragon, but also Lady Tina DeSilva, and worst of all, Myrin. Working with, and sometimes against, wizards Randall and Morgan, Sam and his company of misfits entertain readers with various funny and frightening adventures. We get to revisit Dimitri, the Fairy King, and oh, how I love the voice Michael Lesley uses for him! And we also get quite a bit of time with Gary, Tiggy, and Kevin, all of whom have unique and spot-on voices. Good news for fans: Gary has decided to give Kevin a second chance and the hilariously lewd scenes that take place are a highlight of the story. I find it hard to choose my favorite character in this series, but I think Kevin the dragon is at the top of the list as of now. That faintly Scottish accent with his constantly lascivious words and actions make him quite amazing, in my opinion.

The Kingdom of Verania is in danger; Sam can’t seem to get all five dragons on board to face the dark wizards; there’s more danger from a previously unexpected source; and Myrin has escaped—proving to be the greatest danger of all. Add to that the voices Sam hears in his head, some good, some bad, like Vadoma’s negative predictions that seem to be coming true, and readers are in for a highly entertaining, often nail-biting, sometimes hair-raising adventure. Michael Lesley’s thousand voices accompanied by very clever sound effects makes this a definite audiobook winner.

One last thing—this series builds one book upon another, so this can’t be read as a standalone. However, I do recommend taking the audiobooks on vacation since listening to this series will greatly enhance the joy of any vacation.

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The cover by Paul Richmond features a man’s hand with wisps of smoky vapor swirling in the air around it and forming a dragon-like figure. Bright and colorful, this cover is very attention-getting and definitely represents Sam’s magic and his gathering of the dragons.

Audiobook Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:
18 hrs 18 mins

Audible Audio, 19 pages
Published April 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 20th 2017)
Original Title The Consumption of Magic
ASIN B07CNNDHPX
Edition Language English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster

and

Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

 

This is another wonderful story in the At First Sight series.  Paul and Vince are just as wonderful together as they have been in the other stories.  They both love and know each other so well that they can make the other feel better and make their worries go away.

 

Paul is just as hilarious has he has been before and I love hearing how his mind work because it is AMAZING!  His mind can make the craziest jumps but it works for him.  Seeing his whole family, Sandy and Darren just brings everyone together so much more.  I love their unconditional love for each other and how much they support one another.  These stories make me laugh so much, I always feel better at the end and it lifts up my day.

 

Michael Lesley did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters well and feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences with the characters.

 

Cover art by Reese Dante is sweet and understated but I love the simpleness of it for this story.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5 hrs 4 min
Published: May 2, 2017 (ebook first published February 27, 2017)
Edition Language: English

Series: At First Sight #3

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight #2) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

the-queen-the-homo-jock-king-audiobookDo you believe in love at first sight?

 

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

 

Or so he tells himself.

 

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

 

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

 

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

 

Simple, right?

 

Wrong.

 

I loved this story just as much as I have every TJ Klune story I’ve read.  Sandy is absolutely hilarious, if not completely stubborn at the same time.  Seeing all the characters from the previous book helps to connect with the story even more.

 

You can’t help but connect with Sandy and feel exactly how he did.  I could see the other characters emotions through Sandy’s eyes even when Sandy didn’t seem to see them himself.  I loved Darren, he couldn’t help but take anything he could get when it comes to being with Sandy since he feels he doesn’t deserve him.  I would love if TJ continues this series and we get to see Cory find someone.

 

Michael Lesley did a wonderful job narrating this story.  I was able to connect with the characters feel their emotions in his reading as he used different voices for the characters.  His voice changes so much you really get to see the differences with the characters.

 

Cover art by Reese Dante is perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links

 

 

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 17 hrs 5 min
Published: August 1, 2016 (ebook first published February 29, 2016)
Edition Language: English

Series: At First Sight #2

A Stella Audiobook Review: Tell Me It’s Real (Tell Me It’s Real #1) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5      ★★★★★

Tell Me Its Real AudiobookDo you believe in love at first sight?

Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Enter Vince Taylor.

Vince is everything Paul isn’t: Sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.

But when Paul hits Vince with his car – in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way – he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself – and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.

I’m not going to tell you a lot about the book cause it can be described with one single word, AMAZING, just like everything TJ writes, his characters are the best. This book is so funny, hilarious and sweet. Paul just cracks me up.

This is not the first audiobook that I listen to, but I have to tell you I was a little scared when I started the audiobook, because it seemed to me the narrator told the story a little too fast and I was afraid I couldn’t be able to understand everything (ok my English sucks, I know!), but… BUT I need to congratulate with Michael Lesley, I didn’t miss a single word, he is a great narrator!
I think he was perfect for this book, he was the right voice for Paul, the right tone. I liked him a lot! He was funny listening to him doing different voices for Vince, Sandy/Helena, sometimes he seems a little over the top and exaggerated but I think It was what this book needed, a narrator who could fit the MC perfectly.

Two words: AMAZING to TJ’s writing and PERFECT to Michael’s narration.

Cover art by Reese Dante is amazing and perfect for the characters and story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Book Details:

10 hrs 24 min
Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published June 30th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published February 15th 2013)
Original TitleTell Me It’s Real
ASINB00LBF5JK4
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTell Me It’s Real #1
CharactersPaul James Auster, Vince Melody Taylor, Sanford “Sandy” Stewart

A Paul B Audiobook Review: The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Klune , Michael Lesley (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars          ★★★★★

The Lightning Struck Heart audiobookOnce upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.

Sam Haversford is the wizard apprentice for the kingdom of Verania.  For the past eight years, he has been studying under the King’s Wizard Morgan.  His constant companions are a gay hornless unicorn by the name of Gary and a nine and a half foot tall half-giant by the name of Tiggy.  His parents have received jobs within the palace where Sam is being taught.  And the king thinks of Sam as a second son.  Life could not be any better for Sam, right?

Well, there is this problem Sam has of getting himself and his two friends captured whenever they go out on a mission for Morgan or the king.  From battling dark wizards to almost getting “gay fairy married” Sam just cannot stay out of trouble.  Throw in the fact that the knight the Sam has been crushing on for the past five years, Ryan Braveheart, has been promoted and engaged to Crown Prince Justin, Sam’s future boss, his life has its complications.  To make matters worse, Sam realizes that Ryan is his cornerstone, the one person any wizard grounds his magic to as they build upon their base of knowledge.  When Sam is attacked and Prince Justin is taken away from the dragon, the king sends Sam and his friends, along with Ryan to rescue his son.  Sam must make this trip with the one man who he must have for his magic but cannot have because of Ryan’s commitment to the prince.  With the prince to save, Sam resolves that he will complete his mission even though doing so might kill him either physically or emotionally.

I love T J Klune’s books and this is no exception.  Sam is the neurotic protagonist in this story with Ryan serving as the steadying force for him both emotionally and magically.  The various supporting characters that are met along the way bring humor into most situations even if some are meant to be evil.   Sam’s take on evil characters giving monologues about their plans is both funny and true.  I am looking forward to more tales from Sam of Wilds and his crew.  As usual, this is a must read/listen from the author.

Narrator Michael Leslie’s rich voice gives life to the various characters.  His portrayal of the characters allows the listener to distinguish who is talking most of the time.  A couple of times the vocal switch from Sam to Ryan was difficult to discern.  The intonation for Mama, Sam’s fairy drag mother was quite well done while the other female voices were adequate considering the narrator’s deep voice.  The overall pacing of the story was good with tempo and pauses between different sections of chapters easily noticeable.

Cover art by Paul Richmond is dramatic and of course, striking.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 20 pages, 19 hrs 48 mins
Published December 10th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published July 20th 2015)
Original TitleThe Lightning-Struck Heart
ASINB0195I4B9S
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersSam Haversford, Ryan Foxheart, Gary, Tiggy, Morgan of Shadows…more settingVerania