A Lila Audiobook Review: Lollipop (Candy Man #3) by Amy Lane and Narrator Philip Alces


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

LollipopEzra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn’t. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn’t just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.

Lollipop is a sweet make-believe contemporary story. It’s hard to believe someone can live the MCs’ lives, but at the same time, the boardwalk/Sacramento settings grounds the story into reality. Even so, the small glances of fantasy/paranormal abilities don’t retract from the overall story.

From the moment Miguel sets eyes on Ezra, he’s drawn to him. His confusion to his reaction had him trying to put Ezra down, but when he realizes the polished man’s already broken. Miguel wants to protect Ezra and bring him back to life. Seeing Ezra being dismissed by Rico shows Miguel that they weren’t as different as he first thought– they were both invisible.

When Ezra arrives at Rico’s apartment, he realizes his mistake. He hadn’t been strong enough to stand up to his father, and now, it was too late to get Rico back. Having this knowledge does nothing to comfort Ezra’s broken heart. Fortunately, he finds an insta-family ready to help him get over Rico and all the years of hurt he endured living under his father’s thumb.

The story had some slow and awkward moments that take away from the main characters’ relationship. The dialogue and the banter worked with the rest of the series, and it was nice to see how the relationships on the previous books have evolved.

So far, this installment is my favorite in the series. The connection between Miguel and Ezra was a slow-burn, based on a friendship and how much they care for each other. Together, they discovered their place in the grand scheme of things and learned to be there for each other.

Overall, this story is about finding your place, love, friendship, and family. Ezra and Miguel found much more than love; they found acceptance and a future they could work together for. Plus, we get some clues into the next book in the series.

As with the previous two books, Philip Alces did an excellent job with the characters’ voices. He kept them consistent through all the Candy Man stories. He did a good job with the Spanish bits and the female voices, too.

The cover by Paul Richmond matches the previous two books and it’s an adaptation from the ebook one. It has Ezra’s lollipops and Clopper & Jake on it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Philip Alces
Length:  9 hours and 13 minutes

Published:  March 21, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series:  Candy Man
Book #1: Candy Man
Book #2: Bitter Taffy
Book #3: Lollipop

Barb, A Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton~ audiobook narrated by Matthew Shaw


Rating: 5 stars out of 5audiobook clipart bw

How To Howl At the Moon Audio CoverAn absolutely wonderful audiobook, this one kept me riveted to my iPhone until I finished. The story, the humor, the angst, the voice of the narrator—all combined to make this one A+ in my book.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is the principal law enforcement officer in the small town of Mad Creek, California, a sleepy little town that also happens to be predominately populated by dog shifters. These “quickened” dogs have gained the ability to become human, some in this generation, but others are born that way, the children and grandchildren of dogs who’ve been quickened. Descended from quickened Border collies on both sides of his family line, Lance is the best guardian the town could have as he takes his job very seriously and never lets personal issues interfere with his mission.

So it’s no surprise that he’s suspicious when a young man shows up who seems to be without resources and smelling of marijuana. Tim Weston is there to grow a new hybrid rose for a woman who owns a property on the edge of town. In exchange for Tim’s skills as a horticulturist, Tim can live there rent-free for six months. While he’s trying to get the hybrid roses to grow, he’s also planting a variety of vegetables that he plans to sell at farmer’s markets in the summer, an endeavor which he hopes will generate enough money to support himself and to begin to pay rent on the property when the six months is up.

But Sheriff Lance doesn’t take his word for the fact that he’s renting the property. Suspicious should be his middle name, so he shifts into his Border collie persona and goes to check out the grounds for himself. Unfortunately, as he’s leaving, Tim’s pickup truck hits him, and he’s forced to go along with the charade of being a dog under Tim’s care for a while. He then finds that Tim isn’t quite what he thought he was. He’s not a pot-smoking loser trying to get rich by planting marijuana in the fields, instead, he’s a sweet young man, who is only trying to make ends meet, and he seems to be very much in need of someone to snuggle. Lance decides he’ll be that man—um, dog—at least until he can get to the bottom of things.

Tim thought he was getting away from all his troubles when he came to Mad Creek. His former boss had taken out patents on the vegetable and flower hybrids that Tim generated, keeping everything in his own name and pocketing all the profits. And as if that’s not bad enough, his father was physically abusive when he was a child so Tim has no home at all. Of course he welcomes the dog into his life, a dog he names Chance.

Naturally, nothing goes according to plan for either man. When Tim’s greenhouse is destroyed by someone who thinks he’s in competition with their own pot-growing operation, and the true story of Lance’s deception comes out, Tim feels totally abandoned and betrayed all over again. Will Lance be able to overcome his foolish mistakes to make Tim believe that they are mates and that Lance loves him with all his heart? Or will the troublemakers lurking in Tim’s past revisit his life and cause even more havoc than before?

Ack! I loved this story! I have been a devout fan of Eli Easton ever since I first read The Lion and the Crow, a story she created for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group in 2012. There is nothing that she’s written that I don’t like, but this one really touched my heart. The canine element, with their big blue soulful eyes, and the humor throughout the story sold me on this one. There were times I laughed out loud as I was listening to the audiobook. Narrator Matthew Shaw did an outstanding job. His narration was fast-paced, and the timing of the humorous parts of the story was spot-on, yet the narrative for the sadder, lonelier times was equally compelling. When he emulated the hopeless, soulful howl which Lance let out when he thought he had lost Tim for good, it brought tears to my eyes.

I can’t recommend this story highly enough, and I’m excited beyond measure to find out that this is the beginning of a series. The next story is a must buy for me. Bring it on, Eli Easton—I want more of these quickened dogs and their human sides, as soon as possible, please. If you like shifter stories and sweet romance, this is the book for you. And don’t hesitate to pick up the audiobook version. It’s bound to add more to the story than you would get from reading it alone.

The bright and cheerful cover art depicts a beautiful black border collie, leashed, and sitting next to his master as they pause to pose. It’s exactly as I’d imagine Chance would look, and though Tim’s face isn’t shown in the picture, it’s evident by his posture that the dog is sitting next to his owner.

Sales Links:  Audible |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 6 pages
Published March 19th 2015 by Pinkerton Road (first published February 28th 2015)
original titleHowl at the Moon
edition languageEnglish
seriesHowl at the Moon #1
charactersLance Beaufort, Tim West

A STRW Exclusive: Author Eli Easton Interviews Matthew Shaw, Narrator of Easton’s How To Howl At the Moon (giveaway and interview)


How To Howl At the Moon Audio Cover

As more and more audiobooks are released, we thought it would be interesting to see how an author looks at their books when narrated and get the perspective from the narrator as well. Two sides of the same story!

Here is Eli Easton and the narrator of her novel, How To Howl At the Moon, Matthew Shaw!  And don’t forget to enter the contest for a audiobook of your own, How To Howl At the Moon by Eli Easton.

Interview with Matthew Shaw, narrator of “How To Howl At the Moon” Audiobook!
Interviewed by Eli Eastonaudiobook clipart bw

“How to Howl at the Moon” is the first audio book I’ve self-published. To narrate the book, I turned to an amazingly talented actor I’ve worked with before on other projects, Matthew Shaw.

You can listen to a sample of his narration here.

I loved hearing Matthew read my story. Such an amazing treat. I decided to interview Matthew to see what his side of the experience was like.

Eli: Is this your first time narrating and audio book?  What other types of voce-over work have you done?

Matthew: Yes!  It’s my first one.  I’ve done some commercials and intros for family projects.

Eli: Who are some of your heroes when it comes to audio book narrators?

Matthew: Jim Dale is amazing!  He narrated the entire Harry Potter series, keeping each character consistent and his performance was spot on.  He felt the characters he was reading, so it helped create the world and make it real.  Even characters that had two lines in the entire 7 book series were consistent.  He received two Grammy awards for his performance.

That’s really the challenge:  taking a book you’re just reading aloud and turning it into a performance.

Eli: Was “How to Howl at the Moon” your first time reading a m/m romance? What would you tell other newbies who asked what it’s like?

Matthew:  ​Yes, it was!  In fact, it was my first romance novel I read ever.  I didn’t know what to expect, and Eli helped talk me through what are some of the common story arcs in romance novels to help build the context.  It’s actually quite a fun genre.  I really felt for the characters, either wanting them to succeed, or the bad guys to get their comeuppance.  It’s a great book and I really would recommend it to anyone interested in the romance genre.

​​When people asked what it was like, I would tell them , that the characters were very three dimensional, and the story takes you on a journey of understanding and getting to know them better as the main characters get to know themselves, as well.  ​

The fact that this story was a dog shape-shifter tale (or tail?) Made the story super fun to read, too.

Eli: What was your favorite part of the story?

Matthew: I liked the humor so much because it was unexpected!  There was so much more fun than I anticipated.  ​Any time lance and his mom were talking together, I was grinning from ear to ear, and there is a chapter involving a shape shifting undercover sheriff getting an unwanted bath that made me chuckle a few times and had to redo the recording.

​Without giving too much of the story away, there was some real action and romance that were equally entertaining.  A shootout in particular had me on the edge of my seat.  I recorded more than was on my schedule that night, simply because I wanted to know what was going to happen next!

Eli: What was the biggest challenge in doing the narration?

Matthew: ​I think the hardest challenge was a technical one:  if I got tongue tied on a particular line, I would just keep making the same mistake!  I sometimes had to record past it and come back just to get the wrong way out of my head.

​Also, some of the characters with smaller parts were a challenge to voice.  You try to give them a unique character voice so it doesn’t just sound like you’re talking to yourself.  If they don’t have a lot of lines, it’s tough to keep it consistent.  Again… Makes you appreciate Jim Dale!

Eli: Was it difficult to read the sex scenes?

Matthew: ​Surprisingly, no!  Before reading the book, I thought that would be the hardest part.  I guess I, as a reader want these scenes to happen because it’s what the story is building toward, so maybe it was just a type of relief.  Plus, it helped me the way he story was written to get to get into the heads of the characters before these scenes.  When you know where they are coming from, it’s easier to put yourself in their shoes in the context of the story.  Eli gives you a lot to work with!

Eli: Will you be doing more m/m romance audio books?  Other types of books?

Matthew: ​I’d love to, especially books in this series and other books by Eli Easton.  I’m open to others in the m/m genre, as well.  It’s rewarding to find the voice of each character and help paint a picture with tone and performance.

Thanks to Matthew for being so gracious to interview. I hope you’ll enjoy the “How to Howl At The Moon” audio as much as I did!            –  Eli Easton


About How To Howl At The Moon by Eli Easton

5 hrs 52 mins – narrated by Matthew Shaw (a ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords 5 star audio book)

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of “quickened”—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.How To Howl At the Moon Audio Cover

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.


Eli Easton is giving away one audiobook of “How To Howl At The Moon”.  Must be 18 years  of age or older to enter.  Leave a comment with your email address  where you can be reached if chosen.

Eli Easton pic

About the Author

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Her website in www.elieaston.com
Twitter:  EliEaston
Goodreads Author Page
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com