A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Saving Silas by S.J. Himes and Derrick McClain (Narrator)


Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

saving-silas-audiobook*Previously Published as part of Home For The Holidays, A M/M Holiday Anthology, Nov. 29th, 2015.*

This was a sweet-older-guy-rescues-twink story, and though there were quite a few plot holes, I did enjoy listening to it. That may possibly be due to the narration of Derrick McClain, who always comes through with a great narration.

Silas is caught in an alley while a shooter wreaks havoc on an area downtown. He’s in the alley because he crawled out a window to escape the wrath of his father, a nasty man who abhors homosexuals and has caught Silas in a lie about his sexuality. Though he’s always been brutal, this time Silas feels lucky to have escaped with his life and the shirt on his back. He can’t go to the cops because his father is the city’s DA and close friends with the police chief.

Fortunate that EMT Gael Dominic finds him behind the dumpster, the young man wakes up in the hospital to Gael’s soothing voice. Thinking he was underage, Gael volunteered to sit with him since there wasn’t anyone available from DCF. A John Doe that age would need to have someone on standby. Thankfully, when Silas awakens, he tries to keep his identity quiet, due to fear of his father finding him, but he does confirm that he’s nineteen. Unable to stop thinking about him, Gael heads out to visit him again the next day and finds out he’s just left AMA, disappeared from his room—a room which was now conspicuously crowded with men in suits. Acting on a hunch, Gael takes the back stairs generally used by staff and finds Silas near the outside door. When Silas begs for help, Gael can’t resist and takes him to his home.

There within two, possibly three days, they consummate their love, so to speak, and make plans for how Silas can cope without his ID. The resolution to the problem with his father was not quite believable, but no more remarkable than a near-death experience one day, running away the next, and having sex by the third day. It was a good concept, but not believably executed. Sprinkling in a little Christmas holiday emotion for good measure in the hopes it would leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy didn’t quite hit the mark.

So, not bad, not the best, but if you like big, tough, thirty-something, tattooed Alpha males and their romance with nineteen-year-old abused and injured homeless twinks, you may just rate this one higher. By all means, though, if you buy it, buy the audiobook version.

Cover art seems right for the story

Sales Link  Amazon Audible

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 3 hours and 38 minutes


Published November 30th 2016 by Sheena Jolee Himes (first published November 29th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote and Mark Steadman (Narrator)


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

what-happens-at-christmas-by-jay-northcoteFirst and foremost, the most important disclaimer for this review is that I love holiday stories. The second is that I highly enjoy the work of Jay Northcote. And last, but certainly not least, I love Mark Steadman’s narrations. Put these all together, and it’s a no-brainer that I really enjoyed this short friends-to-lovers story.

Justin is heartbroken over the loss of his boyfriend—probably more so because the ex was cheating on him, works in the same office, and is now going to be at their holiday party—the party for which Justin doesn’t have a date. When his old friend Sean comes back from overseas and admits to Justin that he told his dad that he’s gay before he left on this last trip, Justin is surprised but happy. He’s lusted after the guy he grew up with for years, but Sean was straight, or so he thought.

When Sean agrees to accompany Justin to the office party as Justin’s boyfriend, little does Justin know that Sean is looking forward to the cuddles and kisses as much as Justin is. Add in a snowstorm that strands both men for the holidays, and their decision to stay together gives them a much better chance to follow through on what starts at the party.

Because it’s a short story, there’s not a lot of misunderstanding, angst, and soul-searching, and to be honest, I’m glad for that. But the two fated mates do look forward to their HEA as the story ends.

Jay pulled out the old friends-to-lovers trope, dusted it off, and created a highly enjoyable book. The fact that he got Mark Steadman to narrate shows his brilliance and bumps the rating up a notch. This is one that would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for all lovers of MM romance.

Cover art fits the  character and story.

Sales Links


Audiobook Details:

3 hrs 41 mins

Audible Audio, 4 pages

Published November 11th 2016 by Jaybird Press (first published November 19th 2015)
Original TitleWhat Happens At Christmas
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Audiobook Release Day Review: How to Deal (All Cocks Stories #3) by T. M. Smith and Joel Leslie (Narrator)


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

how-to-deal-audiobookListening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Jon Brennan comes from a long line of men in uniform; all born and bred to both bleed and wear blue. His family and the majority of his co-workers support him every step of the way, so he doesn’t need to hide the fact that he prefers men over women. Between the job and his larger than life, loud and rowdy half Irish, half Italian family, there isn’t much time for dating, much less finding a guy who can deal with the stress and demands placed on the shoulders of an NYPD detective.

Kory White is cocky and abrasive with most people, but it is all a facade he hides behind to keep his heart safe. As a child, Kory lost his mother to an act of violence. Soon after, he and his baby sister Kassandra were separated by the system. Kassandra was immediately adopted, but Kory spent the next 10 years cycling through foster homes before moving to the Big Apple. In an effort to keep everyone at a distance, Kory has meticulously built himself an alter ego: Hayden Cox, All Cocks cockiest model.

These two strong-willed men definitely prove opposites do attract. Both are stubborn and hard headed to a fault, Kory more so than Jon. But Jon is used to being in control, the one calling the shots, and Kory fights him at every turn. Just when it seems they have found a way to navigate the unchartered territory that is love, tragedy knocks on Kory’s door yet again. Volatile and strong, even in the face of adversity, both men refuse to give up on each other – or their love.

I came at How to Deal by T.M. Smith cold, not having read or listened to any of the previous stories in this series and that caused some confusion.  I had no idea what All Cocks was.  I had to go back to find out that it was a online pay for porn site and the series revolved around the porn stars working for the site All Cocks.  Its a great format, allowing the author to easily have as many characters as they want in a series and intertwine them as needed.  Here those couples and men from prior stories make appearances in sex scenes as well as continuing story lines as the porn stars have formed a family together.

There is a tragedy here that hits especially hard considering recent events.  I think the author has chosen to treat it in a timely and sensitive manner.  I liked that  aspect of this story.  And I liked the characters of Jon Brennan and Kory White.  Each is well-defined, supported by past history, and in Jon’s case, a large and boisterous Irish Catholic family.

The audiobook made the story or should I say the narration of Joel Leslie made the story for me.  I don’t think I would have rated it as highly had I just read it as an ebook.  Some of the phrases and sentences the author uses are just too cliche but out of the voice or many voices of Joel Leslie?  Where I started to cringe at an over-used phrase instead I swiftly moved forward, totally engaged in the drama unfolding in my mind as I listened.  It didn’t matter whether Joel Leslie was inhabiting the body of the matriarch of the Brennan clan, the fierce Irish granny who’s ire is to be feared, or the Captain of the NYPD force, with the NY accent and imposing character, each person is so easily defined by their voice.  Its a tour de force of acting.

This includes the relationship between  Jon and Kory. Joel Leslie captures it just right.  His inflections, the tones of voice, the differences between the characters in their backgrounds?  Its all in their voices and it makes them so believable.  I easily lost myself in this story and this couple.

How to Deal (All Cocks Stories #3) by T. M. Smith and Joel Leslie (Narrator) is a wonderfully engaging story as narrated by Joel Leslie.  It pulls you into the couple and the drama that is their lives.  It also makes me  want to know what happens next in the series.  Where will T.M. Smith take these characters and this series next?  I believe I will wait for the next audiobook to arrive and find out then.  It wouldn’t be the same now without the narration.

I highly recommend this audiobook and the narrator.  Its a perfect way to lose yourself in a story that  hot, and touching and romantic.

Cover art works for the book and characters

Sales Links

 iTunes | Amazon Audio | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 5 pages
Published November 4th 2016 by TTC Publishing (first published November 27th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAll Cocks Stories #3

An Ali Audiobook Review: A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2) by Lane Hayes and Seth Clayton (Narrator)

 Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
 a-kind-of-romance-audiobookZeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke.

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.
This story was a mixed bag for me.  I really adored Benny’s character as well as all of the side characters.  Zeke on the other hand was difficult for me to like until about 70% in to the book.  He was rude and judgmental and often harsh.  I really couldn’t see what Benny saw in him.  Some of that may be personal tastes but I think some of it was due to the fact that we didn’t see a lot of the couple’s good moments on page.  The story focused more on the difficulties they had and the sex scenes.  I will say though that when Zeke stopped being a jerk and made some grand gestures he did those really well.  They were very touching and romantic.  By the end of the story I was on board with these two being a couple and I was happy with the hea.
This book was narrated by Seth Clayton and I really enjoyed his voices.  I thought he did a great job with both of the main characters as well as all of the side characters.  I always knew who was talking.  I did have a pretty big problem with the audio as a whole though but it was not the narrator’s fault.  The two MC’s “chuckled” 58x in this.  I  know this because it was bothering me so much that I pulled up the ebook and counted.  Because of this the narrator was constantly “chuckling” through pretty much every scene the MC’s were in together.  Even things that should have been serious sounded like smirking.  I can’t blame the narrator because he was only doing what the story told him to but it really influenced my enjoyment (or lack thereof) of this audio.
Overall I enjoyed this and I would recommend the story.  Even with the issues I had with it, I am still glad I read it and I will definitely be reading the next in this series. (Although this was book two in this series this can be read as a standalone.)
Cover art by Aaron Anderson is well done, works in design and color tone to capture a mood and pull you in.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:

9 hrs 1 min

Audible Audio, 10 pages
Published September 27th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published June 6th 2016)
Original TitleA Kind of Romance
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesA Kind of Stories #2 settingNew York City, New York (United States)

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Opposites (Opposites #1) by T. M. Smith and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)


Rating:  3 stars out of 5


opposites-audioIn the year 2081 our planet survived global warming of an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded Dr. Anthony Smith, one of only a few hundred survivors of GWI, started society anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the twenty first century, he worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene. This gene has the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born gay, and all female children be born lesbians. A new society is born.


In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are ushering in the twenty fourth century having maintained control of the government that still rules society. Twins Aiya and Aiyan are preparing to meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House. But not everything is as it seems.


Love is Love, it knows no gender and doesn’t conform to restrictions and boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden, the prince of House Devi that he is matched with and eventually marries. But when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over two hundred years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites.


This was an interesting book and a bit different from what I usually read.  There is a lot going on with along with a large number of characters to keep track of.  Each person has a set of both mothers and fathers since they are primarily homosexual in this world.  Most of the focus is on Aiya and Aiyan’s relationships and those directly connected to them, soon to be spouses and their families.


This story is told from all points of view at some point which can make it hard to keep track of what’s going on or who we are listening to at the moment, it probably took me until about a third of the way in the story to be able to keep better track of everything once I learned the characters.  The author did a great job of building the story and the world around these characters, there was never something missing in the world, sometimes there was a bit more explaining than I thought was necessary.  I was left wanting to know what will happen in the next story due to the ending, but am not going to spoil it for anyone.


Greg Boudreaux did a nice job narrating this story.  The different voices for the characters made it a bit easier to keep track of what was going on.  He did a good job of separating the numerous characters that we see which helped.  While he separated the voices I got most of the characters emotions from the writing than from his speaking.


Cover art is nice and catches your eye.


Sales Links: Audible | Amazon


Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6 hrs 16 min
Published: September 22, 2016 (ebook first published June 1, 2013)
Edition Language: English

Series: Opposites #1

An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5) by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz with Dorian Bane (Narrator) andTobias Silversmith (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


the-burnt-toast-b-b-audiobookAfter breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.


Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.


Not outright, at least.


The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than how to put out kitchen fires.


Derrick is miserable, he never wanted to take over his parents’ B&B, but falls into it after he was laid off and his parents’ passed away.  He has never been very comfortable in his skin, even if he won’t admit it to others.  Ginsberg is perfectly comfortable with himself and has worked hard to be the man he is today and isn’t going to change that for anyone.


This story was told from both characters’ points of view, which made understanding their thoughts a bit easier.  It’s easy to see Derrick struggling with keeping up and being what he thinks a man should be even if sometimes you just want to give him a slap across the back of the head for being an idiot.  Ginsberg looks at the world as the glass is half full and is slowly able to show Derrick that everything isn’t as bad as he thinks.  Derrick takes awhile to get with the program, but once he does he is all in.


Dorian Bane and Tobias Silversmith did a nice job narrating this story.  I could connect with the characters through the voices and emotions they portrayed.  This is the first time I have listened to a story with separate narrators for the two main characters, I can’t say that it either helped or hurt the story, it was just different and I still enjoyed listening to them.


Cover art by LC Chase is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

Audiobook Sales Links

Riptide Publishing



Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 7 pages, Listening Length: 6 hours and 22 minutes
Published August 2nd 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 3rd 2015)
Original TitleThe Burnt Toast B&B
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBluewater Bay #5


Winner: Best Transgender Book in the 2015 Rainbow Awards!

Winner: Best Transgender Romance in the 2015 Rainbow Awards

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Out of Nowhere (Middle of Somewhere #2) by Roan Parrish and Spencer Goss (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


out-of-nowhere audioThe only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.


Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lies the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.


I really enjoyed listening to this story.  Colin has spent so long denying that he is gay he almost believes it himself becoming more and more self-destructive as time goes on.  He only has one friend and is determined to make his father proud of him.  Rafe made some mistakes in his youth and has spent the rest of his life trying to make life better for LGBT teens with opportunities that he never had.


This story is told from Colin’s point of view; however, we are able to see Rafe’s emotions, if from a skewed view.  Rafe wants to show Colin that he is worth more than he believes.  When Colin really opens himself up to admitting to others that he is gay, he realizes that he would do anything for Rafe.  Seeing him finally reconnect with Daniel, his gay brother from book one, is wonderful.


Spencer Goss did a wonderful job narrating this story.  The use of different voices for the characters helped me keep track of the story.  He did a great job of portraying the characters emotions and feelings in his reading.


Cover art by AngstyG is great and follows the series style.


Sales Links



Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 10hrs 33min
Published July 4, 2016 (ebook first published February 29, 2016)
Edition Language: English

Series: Middle of Somewhere #2

A BJ Audiobook Review: Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall ~Narrated by Alexander Doddy


Rating:     3 out of 5 stars

Waiting for the Flood audioPeople come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to a build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything—and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

This is my third book by this author. I adored For Real, abso-freaking-lutely loved it. But the other one I’d read not so much, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with a third one. Even after listening to it, I’m wasn’t sure and had to really think about it. There were parts that I found quite slow, where my attention drifted away and I had to struggle to make myself focus on the story. But then there were other parts that I found to be deep and poignant, that jerked at my heart in the way they felt so raw and real. The writing was lyrical, slow-paced, contemplative.

The premise of two men meeting during a storm/flood appealed to me, as I usually adore such stories. But there were many times that I was confused by the words and conversation, which may have been part of why my mind often wandered. I enjoyed Adam’s character quite a lot, but Edwin not so much. He seemed so very hung up on his old relationship even though a few years had past, that he let it influence him to the point that he cut himself off from life, and he very nearly let it get in the way of something good several times.

I’ve not listened to too many audios narrated with a UK accent, so it took me a tiny bit to get used to it. Not that it wasn’t lovely, as it certainly was, just that it was a little bit harder to understand for me at first until my ears got attuned to it. I felt that he did a stellar job at handling Edwin’s speech impediment.

Beautiful cover… I adore rain and these guys walking hand in hand in it totally did it for me.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon

Book Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages, Listening Length: 2 hours and 51 minutes
Published May 23rd 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 21st 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpires Universe

An Ali Audiobook Review: Violated by Jamie Fessenden and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Violated audiobook coverDerek Sawyer thinks he has it all—a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake—until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.

One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn’t enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he’s without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.

Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn’t take him long to sort out the truth in Derek’s tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor’s anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can’t be there to protect him all the time.

This was a very emotional story.  Derek is content with his life if not happy.  When he is violated by his friend he realizes how much he doesn’t like some aspects of his life.  He does everything he can to deal on his own without anyone’s help until he pretty much loses everything except his dog and cabin.  Russ can’t help but tell there is something wrong with his new neighbor and will do anything he can to help Derek and help him move forward.

You can’t help but connect with the characters and feel just how they are.  I could feel how desperate and isolated Derek felt about what happened to him and how hurt Russ is for Derek when he is told the story.  It takes awhile for Derek to fully open up to anyone and begin to move forward in his life after all that has happened.  This story had a great HFN ending a couple years in the future.  It made it more believable because with all that happened there really isn’t any way that everything would suddenly work out, they will always need to work thru their emotions together.

KC Kelly did a very nice 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.

Cover art by LC Chase is perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 9 hrs 42 min
Published: March 21, 2016 (ebook first published August 7, 2015)
Edition Language: English

A BJ Audio Review: The Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool #2) by Lisa Henryand J.A. Rock/Nick J. Russo (Narrator)


Rating:  4 stars out of 5

The Merchant of Death audioAll’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man. 

I enjoyed the second installment of this humorous romantic suspense story much more than the first. While there was still banter and humor, I felt this one had more of well, everything that I love. More romance, more suspense, more depth, and definitely more heat.

Very much enjoyed the mystery/suspense element of the book. Adored the cross-dressing and touch of kink! But it was getting to see the layers of Henry/Sebastian coming to light, getting to meet Viola and learn more of his past and what made him into who he is, that was what I loved. Also was pleased at where this book picked up without a big time gap after the previous one.

The care-home drama/mystery leads seamlessly into the next twist. And while we do have another cliffhanger, but this one didn’t actually rub the wrong way as much as the first. Perhaps that was due to the fact that it wasn’t accompanied by cock-blocking—or perhaps it was just that I liked those last several lines quite a lot.

Nick J. Russo’s narration was once again spot on and captivating. The character voices were distinct and well done. Definitely a case where the narration adds an extra layer to the experience of the story.

The brightly contrasting simple cover design works perfectly, and it’s refreshing not having a couple of guys or naked torsos on the cover.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible, Amazon, iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 6 pages, 5 hrs 29 mins
Published March 15th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 31st 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #2 settingIndiana (United States