Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

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Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol!

Pride Weekend actually kicked off on Thursday with a splendid Rooftop event continuing on to the Pride Parade today (Saturday when I write the blog) and then the Pride Festival on Sunday.  Each year Capitol Pride Weekend gets bigger and better!  The schedule of events keeps growing as does the crowds who come to enjoy the entertainment and each other.  There’s parades, music, festivals, dances, rooftop events and so much more. The diversity of the people flocking to the Pride events, smiling, laughing, the support and yes, pride that shines is amazing!

Never been here for Pride Weekend?  Want to see what’s offered?  It’s not too late for Sunday’s event or to plan for next year.  I’ve got some photos from the Capitol Pride Alliance site for you to look at, for more visit their site or FB page.

 

 

Here are a couple of links to the Capitol Pride Alliance page for this weekend’s events and for their main page (they can always use the year around support):

Celebration 2017 – Capital Pride Alliance

Capital Pride Alliance: Home

I feel that since our presidential election, we are living in an age where ugliness and intolerance is promoted from our highest office and that’s not acceptable.  So Pride events, Pride Month and our support becomes even more important.  My little flags from GRL? Outside and in my planters and Uber will get a workout this weekend.  I hope to see some of you there if you live locally!
Also we started our Pride Giveaway last week!  Don’t forget to enter!  Here it is again for those who missed it the first time.

Pride Month Giveaway #1 – Coming Out Stories

Pride Month Celebration continues, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is having a Coming Out Giveaway.  Enter to win a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press by naming your favorite coming out story!  Author and title please.  A winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, June 17th (that’s 2 weeks). You need to leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 11:

  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Just Drive (Anchor Point #1) by L.A. Witt and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol!
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 12:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz: Fast Balls by Tara Lain
  • Blog Tour: Sex in C Major by Matthew Metzger
  • Blog tour for  Stoker & Bash: The Fangs of Scavo by Selina Kray
  • A Jeri Release Day Review:  Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights (Off Stage: Set Three) by Jaime Samms
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Power Bottom? by Rowan McAllister and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: The Running Fields by Sydney Presley

Tuesday, June 13:

  • Blog Tour The Ties that Bind by S. Davidson
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Setting the Hook
  • A Julia Review: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe
  • A MelanieM Review: Crossing Jordan by Shannon West
  • A Stella Pre-Release Review: The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) by Rosalind Abel
  • An Ali Review: Aftercare by Tanya Chris

Wednesday, June 14:

  • Blog Tour for Detour by Sid Love
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Liv Olteano on Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills
  • Review Tour – Summer Heat by Jay Northcote
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Summer Heat by Jay Northcote
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ride Along (States of Love) by Meghan Maslow
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

Thursday, June 15:

  • DSP GUEST POST BA Tortuga on What the Cat Dragged In
  • Release Blitz  for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series vol 1
  • Release Blitz for Clare London’s Romancing The Ugly Duckling
  • Review Tour for Romancing The Ugly Duckling by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London
  • A Kai Review: Boys Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires #30) by B.A. Tortuga and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

Friday, June 16:

  • Book Tour for Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding
  • In the Spotlight: Back to You by Chris Scully (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)
  • Blog Tour and Giveaway for Will to Live by M. Christine
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: What the Cat Dragged In (Series: Sanctuary: Book Two) by BA Tortuga
  • A MelanieM Review: Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding
  • An Alisa Review: Darien’s Omega (Dire Pack Reborn #4) by Stephani Hecht
  • A Julia Review: Love Plus One (Stephanie Spicer Erotic Touch Romance Book 4) by Gemma Stone

Saturday, June 17:

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review:Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant #5.2) by Mell Eight

STRW Flash Fiction Contest and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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STRW Flash Fiction Contest

 

As the deadline for the end of our flash fiction contest approaches, there’s still plenty of time to get your entries in.  Flash fiction or micro fiction is just, that a tiny story.  It can be in any genre, any trope, and for this contest and always for this blog, it must be LGBTQIA.

Even a short time ago, I would never have thought we would be entering the sort of political times, rough waters nationally that seem to be ahead of us. Maybe I’m wrong but I think we find ourselves moving along a scale of emotions, ranging from disbelief to shock to horror to anger and anywhere in-between.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words tries to stay away from politics and concentrates on books (although with subject matter those can intertwine).  But this may be a time when an overlap occurs.

Need to give voice to your emotions?  Write about it and send it in.  We are going to be running our entries here for everyone to read. Story rights remain with the authors.  We are still awarding gift certificates to the first 5 entries.  Our deadline is still November 30th at midnight EST.    All flash fiction should be sent to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  You are only limited by your imagination and the fact that you should be 18 years of age or older. Open to everyone! Now get writing.

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We have a wonderful week ahead of us, filled with great tours and giveaways.  We are reviewing several audiobooks and many new books getting released just this week, some I’m sure you’ve had on your  TBR list.

Its also the start of the holiday season so more and more holiday stories will be making appearances here.  This week we having Barb the Zany Old Lady reviewing A Christmas Hex by Jordan L. Hawk and Stella reviewing Merry Christmas, Mr Miggles by Eli Easton to launch our holiday reviews.  Starting December 1, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words will be reviewing the Dreamspinner Press Advent stories as we did last year but more on that later.

For now,for those Americans, living in the U.S. and expats abroad, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Be safe,  be happy, and many wonderful books to you!

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, November 20:

  • STRW Flash Fiction Contest
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz  Tour – A Family For Christmas by Jay Northcote

Monday, November 21:

  • Juliann Rich’s Gravity – Virtual Book Tour (giveaway)
  • In the Spotlight: Andrew Grey on Writing and his release The Playmaker (Dreamspinner Author Guest Blog)
  • Love Mythology & Romance? Check out Labyrinth by Alex Beecroft (giveaway)
  • Release Day Blitz  for Tow Trucks & New Year’s Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter (giveaway)
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Built for Pleasure by Thursday Euclid
  • A Melanie Release Day Review:  The Straight Boyfriend from Renae Kaye
  • A Stella Review: Tow Trucks & New Year’s Kisses by Lila Leigh Hunter

Tuesday, November 22:

  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Just Drive by L.A. Witt
  • In the Audiobook Spotlight:  How to Deal by T.M Smith and Narrated by Joel Leslie (tour and giveaway)
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Release Day Review:How to Deal by T.M Smith and Narrated by Joel Leslie
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Christmas Hex (Hexworld #2.5) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A Paul B Review: Beautiful Goodbyes (The Connelly Chronicles #2) by N.J. Nielsen
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: A Kind of Romance (A Kind of Stories #2) by Lane Hayes and Seth Clayton (Narrator)

Wednesday, November 23:

  • Tricia Owens  on “The Bucket List” and Writing (guest post)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER FAIRY TALES by Joe Cosentino and narrated by Joel Leslie
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: All the Way to Shore by CJane Ellliot
  • A Lila Release Day Review: The Soldati Prince by Charlie Cochet
  • A MelanieM Review: Ghost Ship (Mahu #10) by Neil S. Plakcy

Thursday, November 24 (Happy Thanksgiving to those in the US and abroad):

  • Release Blitz and Giveaway for Sue Brown’s Alpha Barman
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway for The Copper Horse: Love & The Copper Horse Box Set by KA Merikan
  • Eli Easton Author Guest spot on  Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles
  • An Ali Review Sunset on Turtle Lake by Carol Lynn
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review: Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton

Friday, November 25:

  • In the Spotlight: Checking It Twice (The Carlisles #3) by Meg Harding (guest blog and giveaway)
  • Dreamspinner Press Author Guest Post: Built for Pleasure by Thursday Euclid
  • Secrets in My Scowl by AE Via – Guest Blog for Dreamspinner Press
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Open Hearts by Logan Meredith
  • A Lila Review: Secrets in My Scowl by AE Via
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane

Saturday, November 26:

  • NineStar Press Blog Tour – Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker
  • A Stella Review:  Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker
  • In The Spotlight: Santa Baby by Heidi Cullinan (author interview & giveaway)
  • A MelanieM Review: Santa Baby (Minnesota Christmas # 4) by Heidi Cullinan

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The Narrator and Audiobooks – Our Interview with Narrator Joel Leslie (Audiobooks Part II/Giveaway) & This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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The Narrator and Audiobooks – Our Interview with Narrator Joel Leslie (Audiobooks Part II)

Last Sunday, I started our conversation about the fast-rising audiobook industry with my blog  Are You Listening Now? The Popularity of Audiobooks.  This Sunday, that conversation continues with The Narrator and Audiobooks – Our Interview with Narrator Joel Leslie (Audiobooks Part II).

As I have said before, and as reviewers/listeners we have noted many times in our reviews, a good or great narrator makes or breaks an audiobook.  It doesn’t matter that you have read it before.  Listening to a book makes it fresh once more.  It gives a reader a new and different perspective.  Often times I hear things I missed in the story, or  catch things from a narrator’s inflection that highlights a previously hidden element.  I love that about this format.

Also the opposite is true.  A narrator you don’t connect with, or one with a flat delivery, or monotone voice…well, that can sink a terrific story faster than a lead anchor.  So what’s the key?  How to get some insight into those people behind the voices we love to listen to?

Well I was so lucky to hook up with the very talented Joel Leslie who agreed to answer some questions for me.  A favorite narrator for both Barb, our Zany Old Lady and Ali, I was delighted to have this chance to talk audiobooks, voices and favorite genres.  Here is my interview with Theatrical Director, Designer, and Audiobook Narrator Joel Froomkin , known to most of the LGBTQIA listeners of audiobooks as Narrator Joel Leslie.  For you authors out there thinking of putting your story out on audio?  Hmmm, I think you might find this as enlightening as our readers.

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Welcome, Joel, to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  We love our audiobooks here, including several you have narrated including Dinner at Fiorello’s by Rick R. Reed and  Ali’s Audiobook Review of Desert Heat and Native Tongue by Lucy Felthouse. I have so many questions for you but these were the first ones that came to mind.

My Interview with Joel Leslie

  •  How did you get started with narrating audiobooks?
Long answer… lol…
It was a long and winding road actually – but I’m so grateful to have landed here. My undergrad was in performance at USC and then I did my MFA there in design and directing.  My entire professional career up until the past few years has been concentrated on directing… I did a lot of assisting as well, working on shows with Dame Maggie Smith and lots of other amazing folks.  About ten years ago my partner and I started a theatre company in Indiana.  It was a labor of love, but despite our efforts the community wasn’t able to financially support the scale of professional productions we aimed to do.  I have also been a college professor, teaching dialects at NYU and I was the Director of Drama at a university here in Indiana for a while.
While we were doing shows, in between productions I would sometimes present one-man radio dramas… I would abridge classics like Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, Jekyll and Hyde and do them for a few nights.  The audiences loved them.  As we were looking to be able to move the theatre company to another area, one of my long time friends who is a fantastic female narrator suggested I give it a try.  So I began auditioning and the first contract I landed has actually been most successful series (the SkylerGo Foxe Mysteries by Haley Walsh).
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It is a perfect blend of skills really – because 99% of the time with audiobooks you are directing yourself… so my performer background is obviously helpful, but also being able to listen to yourself with a critical ear and shape the performance I think is a terribly useful tool.  And now it’s a full time job.  I’m booked through February at the moment!  Eep.
  • Do you listen to audiobooks yourself and was that an element in your career or just a plus?
I came to audiobooks largely because I was a huge fan of them.  I have always loved the theatricality of an actor playing multiple roles in front of an audience… the ability to be a chameleon.  And I fell in love with audiobooks because of that.  My favorites were Jim Dale, Davina Porter and Roy Dotrice… they don’t just read a story – they perform it for you.  I listen to an audiobook every night… I think that one of the trickiest things is actually working of authors who AREN’T listeners to audiobooks, because they don’t really have a familiarity with the art form and what the audience wants.
  • What is the hardest part of narrating a story?
Gosh – great question.  I narrate under two names… Joel Froomkin for most of my material and Joel Leslie for my m/m material (simply so that I have a consistent brand for my m/m listeners).  But Joel Froomkin does a lot of historical and fantasy stuff – and I hate doing battle scenes.  It’s difficulty to not try to over act them, or speed up to make it seem exciting… and those are traps.  I just think they are hard.  Maybe cuz I’m not into sports lol!  Other than that, I have a tough time when there are a lot of alpha american men in conversation with each other in a scene.  Flamboyant characters can have quirks and personality that make them easily identifiable… and when you are doing a British book it’s so much easier because class and level of education is so distinctive with their speech and also dialects change in England every 21 miles… so you have great variety for how you make characters sound to pull them out for the listener.  But if I have a bunch of super-butch American alpha males in a room having a conversation in a book I usually have a panic attack.
It’s also very challenging to do a series where the author gives you multiple POV chapters.  Usually you would make your main character your own voice… because it’s going to be the most authentic and resonate as the most truthful with the reader… but when you have a bunch of characters speaking in first person… you can’t do that.  And it can be a real challenge.  I’ve had two like that recently (“Absolution (The Protectors #1)” by Sloane Kennedy (which is the first in an amazing series) and “Guns Blazing” by Eva Lenoir and Andrea Smith) that I sweated bullets over.
  • And the easiest?
People are so shocked to hear this…but the sex scenes.  Because usually there isn’t that much dialogue and it’s all descriptive.  So you can just settle back and read… it’s kind of like putting your car on cruise control.  And after doing this for almost two years now, there really isn’t much I can read that will make me blush!
  • I can remember listening to books being read to me as a child.  How they were read had a huge impact on me.  Using different voices, no matter how silly it might have seen to the adult (bears, rabbits…you know…childrens books).  The same carries over here.  In some stories, you play many characters where there are different pov.  Or do you only narrate stories with a singular pov?
It depends on the narrator… but I am very much a narrator who creates characters.  It’s funny that you mention animals, because when I first get a book I send the author a bunch of questions and one of them is “if your character was an animal what would they be”… Finding the voice for someone is much easier if you know the author thinks they are a ferret  vs. a hamster or a Persian cat. But I think the m/m listeners that really respond to my work usually do so because they enjoy how much individuality I try to give my characters.  Also, because I grew up in the UK with American parents, I’m kind of a dialect ambidextrous lol.  I jump between authentic British and American accents and I do as much British work for British authors as I do for American authors.  Listeners who have tried multiple books of mine are often confused about what my real voice sounds like.
  • I would imagine, being a narrator lets you go into any genre you want…am I correct in that?  Or do you have a particular favorite
Well I love that I get to do so much m/m work. I find it really important and empowering to be able to put those kind of stories out into the world.  I know the main audience is female for m/m romance, but I also think about the young adults who are struggling to feel ok with themselves and they might discover one of these stories by the brilliant authors I get to work for and find some hope.  And the thing about audio is it’s so private… you really are one-on-one with the listener.  So it means a lot to be able to give voice to m/m romance.  I also love doing fantasy stuff because it means you can use every dialect in the universe and play with crazy voices.  You don’t get to do everything you want – I think you can get pigeonholed as a narrator.  But I’m luckily not in that place yet, and my audiobook career has a lot of room to grow.
  • What’s your favorite types of stories to read or listen to?
I am such a sucker for cozy mysteries.  I don’t know why.  I LOVE MC Beaton and the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin books.  I think that’s why I love doing Haley Walsh’s Skyler Foxe so much…because it really is a gay spin on that type of mystery.  I think TJ Klune is one of the most amazing authors out there in any genre.  I don’t think I could ever get tired of listening to Jim Dale doing Harry Potter or Roy Dotrice doing Game of Thrones… they are just extraordinary examples of old-school storytelling.  I’m also so lucky to have an ongoing relationship with authors like N.R Walker, Kim Fielding, Andrea Smith, Kiernan Kelly, TM Smith and Grace R Duncan – they always seem to have something wonderful for me to play with.
  • What current projects are you working on that you want to share with our readers?

Absolution, the first in the protectors series by Sloane Kennedy just came out, as did Fame and Fortune by TM Smith.  Upcoming things I’m really excited about are the sequel to Black Balled called Hard Edit by Andrea Smith and Eva Lenoir, the second book in the Red Dirt Heart series by NR Walker and The Naked Prince and Other Fairy Tales by Joe Cosentino.

  • If you were an bard of old….how would you start your story of your life and what would it be called?

 

“Once upon a time there was a kid who could never keep his big mouth shut… It took two decades for him to realize there was a career for that.”

Thank you, Joel, that was a wonderful interview.  I’m sure there are many more questions rumbling about inside my head.  I hope you will stop back by Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for another conversation about  narration and audiobooks and any future projects you want to share with us.

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To listen to Joel, here are three different excerpts:

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If you want to reach out to Joel, we have listed his contacts below.  We also have a giveaway today for our readers brought to you by Joel who is giving away 10 copies, yes 10 winners… the winners could choose the first book in any of my series they wanted to try (Skyler Foxe, The Protectors, Jimmy McSwain Mysteries, All Cocks, or Black Balled)!

About Joel Froomkin

Joel is a UK transplant, growing up with an American parents in a British commonwealth.  He is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of both American and British sounds.  His wit and comedic timing also appeal to producers.  He has developed a strong body of work for young audience, historical, fantasy, new-adult, romance and m/m fiction.

His author’s have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery”,  and a “true delight…” “legendary, and his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with”, “Anyone else would only be second best”.

Joel records under two names, for mainstream and children’s fiction as Joel Froomkin, and for m/m and adult material under Joel Leslie and has consistent access to home studio for all production needs.

 

 
You can contact Joel Froomkin at:

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Giveaway

We are giving away 10 copies (1 copy a winner so 10 winners overall) , all thanks to Joel Froomkin!  The 10 people chosen will get to chose from the first book in any of Joel’s series they wanted to try (Skyler Foxe, The Protectors, Jimmy McSwain Mysteries, All Cocks, or Black Balled).
To be entered, tell us who’s your favorite narrator or narrators are. Tell us what you like best about a narrator and maybe name some of your favorite audiobooks. New to audiobooks?  OK,  name the ones you’d love to be able to listen to if you had a way to listen to audiobooks.  And after you do that, make sure you leave a contact name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Contest is open until midnight, September 30th.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
(Special Note:  If you are a Amazon Prime user, Audible is now free with your account.)
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This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, September 18:

  • The Narrator and Audiobooks – Our Interview with Narrator Joel Froomkin (also known as Joel Leslie)(Audiobooks Part II)
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Paul B Audiobook Review:  The Autumn Lands by J Scott Coatsworth

Monday, September 19:

  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway ~ Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Dad’s Nerdy New Boyfriend by JM Snyder
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Power Bottom by Rowan McAllister
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Safe House (Buchanan House #4) by Charley Descoteaux
  • A Paul Review: Orion’s Circle (Sirius Wolves # 1) byVictoria Sue

Tuesday, September 20:

  • Release Blitz & Tour – Sweet Summer Sweat by Clare London
  • An Alisa Review: Broke by Amanda Young
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Pill Bugs of Time (Offbeat Crimes #2) by Angel Martinez
  • An Ali Review: Looking for Group by Alexis Hall
  • A Stella Review: Three More Wishes by Sean Michael

Wednesday, September 21:

  • Its Release Day for Flight: Queer Sci Fi’s Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest Anthology (QSF Flash Fiction #2) by J. Scott Coatsworth , Angel Martinez , et al.
  • Series Recap Tour – Guns n’ Boys by KA Merikan
  • A Stella Review: Resistance (Village Love #1) by Lillian Francis
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Taming the Wyld by Lucie Archer
  • A Ali Review: David, Renewed by Diana Copland

Thursday, September 22:

  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Gambling on Love by Jane Davitt
  • A Stella Review: Gambling on Love by by Jane Davitt
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Run for it All by Carolyn Levine Topol
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight #2) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

Friday, September 23:

  • Keep Me In Mind tour: Deanna Wadsworth ‘Too Good To Be True‘ (Excerpt and Giveaway)
  • In the Spotlight: Immortal Watch by Olivia Helling (blitz, excerpt and giveaway)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Breakaway (Scoring Chances #1) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)
  • An Ali Releases Day Review: Raven’s Rest by Stephen Osborne
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Citizen (Haven Investigations #1) by Lissa Kasey and Mike Pohlable (Narrator)

Saturday, September 24:

  • A MelanieM Review: Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

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An Ali Audiobook Review: Better Than Safe (Better Than #4) by Lane Hayes and Tyler Stevens (Narrator)

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 Rating: 5 out of 5 stars   ★★★★★
Better Than Safe AudiobookPaul Fallon is a fashion advertising guru. He’s a genius at dealing with difficult editors, art directors, and designers alike. He thrives on the chaotic atmosphere and constant challenges. But in his personal life, he’s hoping for peace and stability. Settling down with a nice doctor or lawyer sounds perfect. Anyone but an artist. He’s been there, done that, and he doesn’t want to relive the heartache.

Seth Landau is a model, occasional guitarist, and aspiring painter. He’s quirky, flighty, and wise beyond his years. Life has taught him some tough lessons, then given him opportunities he never dreamed of. He’s learned to appreciate the fragility of life and to express it in his work. Seth’s flare for the absurd combined with a supple mind and a beautiful body are too alluring for Paul to ignore. Against his best intentions, Paul is drawn to the younger man whose particular brand of crazy challenges Paul to accept that things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes taking a chance is better than being safe.
I really, really liked this book. This ended up being a well done romance and there were quite a few things I liked about it. Paul is the narrator and he gets set up with Seth by a friend. Seth is much younger and at first glance doesn’t seem to have his act together. As the story unfolds though we realize Seth is so much more than he initially seemed. I fell for Seth right along with Paul. At first I thought he was kind of charming but a pain in the bottom and way too much trouble but by the end I was all swooney and ready to declare my endless love for him right along with Paul. I thought the plot was interesting and it moved along at a good pace without a lot of angst. I liked how problems would arise but instead of the usual drama we often see in books, these two just communicated (a novel idea I know) and worked through it. There was no insta-love and their relationship progressed in a way that felt realistic to me. Some of the most touching scenes were every day moments (like a picnic). The story wasn’t filled with sex scenes…..just the right amount…and they were HOT. Seth was a dirty talker and that made the scenes really work for me.

This was my favorite book by this author. I’ve only read book 2 of this series but had no problem reading this without reading the others. The couples from books 1 & 3 made multiple appearances and there is a very brief appearance of the guys from 2.

I listened to this on audio and REALLY liked the narrator. I thought he did a great job on all of the characters and it really made the sexy scenes hotter.
Cover art by Aaron Anderson. I liked the cover on this a lot.  It was consistent with the other books in the series and I found it visually appealing.
Audiobook Details:
Audible Audio, 9 pages, 8 hrs 12 mins
Published March 7th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published September 25th 2015)
Original TitleBetter Than Safe
ASINB01CKGVNFC
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Audiobook Review: Spirit by John Inman and Narrator John Anthony Davis

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Spirit audiobookJason Day, brilliant designer of video games, is not only a confirmed bachelor, but he’s as gay as a maypole. One wouldn’t think being saddled with his precocious four-year-old nephew for four weeks would be enough to throw him off-kilter.

Wrong. Timmy, Jason’s nephew, is a true handful.

But just when Timmy and Uncle Jason begin to bond, and Jason feels he’s getting a grip on this babysitting business once and for all, he’s thrown for a loop by a couple of visitors—one from Tucson, the other from beyond the grave.

I’m sorry. Say what?

Toss a murder, a hot young stud, an unexpected love affair, and a spooky-ass ghost with a weird sense of humor into Jason’s summer plans, and you’ve got the makings for one hell of a ride.

This was an enjoyable story with both a mystery and a paranormal twist. The main character Jason is a likable MC and his narration is filled with humor. I didn’t find the child very realistic or age appropriate in his behaviors but he was an entertaining twist to the story so I overlooked most of that. I found the end to be predictable but it was one of those stories that still warms your heart so again, I overlooked that too.

The story is creative and has a lovely happily ever after at the end. I did this on audio and enjoyed the narrator. He had a nice voice and did all of the different characters well, including the child. I think this will entertain even those who don’t typically like paranormal stories as the ghost part doesn’t overwhelm.

Cover art by Reese Dante. I like this cover a lot. I think it is a really good representation of the story. It’s just spooky enough to draw you in.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | iTunes | Audible | Amazon

Audio Book Details:

Cover ArtistReese Dante
Narrator John Anthony Davis
Length6 hours and 47 minutes

A BJ Audio Review: Not Fade Away (Hell and High Water #3.5) by S.E. Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Not Fade Away audiobookTruth or dare.

Ever since superspy Cillian moved into Prophet’s building, their game of Steal the Couch has been funny to Prophet, but a thorn in Tom’s side. Then Prophet gets bored one night during an ice storm and insists on playing another simple game with Tom: Truth or Dare. In exchange for one of Prophet’s truths, Tom steals the couch one last time. 

But Prophet’s truths are never easy—Tom should know that by now—and this one raises questions neither of them quite know how to answer. In response, Tom finds himself laying claim to Prophet in the most basic way he knows how. And also finds that he doesn’t mind it in the least when Prophet returns the favor.

This one is entirely different than the others… it’s playful, fun and kinky without the usual action and guns. Considering this is largely a grouping of sexy interludes, the narrator did an exceptional job. The one thing that sorta bugged me in the narration was the way the “bebe” endearment was used… each time it sorta pulled me from the story. But totally just me, I think. Because he did an excellent job of making this a one-handed read.

The chemistry between Tom and Prophet was as combustible as even, and there was even a rare super sweet moment between them that was for me totally worth listening to the whole story just for that alone. Plus the secrets that are shared add just a bit of plot interest to the heat. Overall, more than anything, this little taste just left me wanting more. The final installment of Hell & High Water as well as the second installment of Dirty Deeds to learn more about Mal and Cillian.

Overall, this is an excellent audio series well worth listening to. The narrator stayed in character through. I dearly hope that the release of the four audios last month means that the rest of these series will finally be released this year. Crossing my fingers.

The cover by L.C. Chase fits those for the previous, it’s very sexy and it focuses on the leather band and the tattoo beneath. Love it.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon

Book Details:  

1 hr 5 mins, Audible Audio, 2 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published August 16th 2014)
Original TitleNot Fade Away
ASINB016WPXL8Y
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #3.5, Extreme Escapes, Ltd.
CharactersProphet Drews, Tom BoudreauxDecember 16th 2015 by Audible Studios

An Ali Audiobook Review: Snowman by Isabelle Rowan (audio version)‏ and Narrator Brad Walton

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
SnowmanAUDWe all find ways to run away. Some do it in seclusion, others in the arms of lovers.

Since the death of his long-time partner, Caleb Maguire lives a quiet life in Australia’s Victorian high country with only his dog and horses for company. Each day is the same. There are no surprises—good or bad—until a major snowstorm hits his mountain and Caleb is called out to rescue a stranded tourist. The late night snow brings with it a lost soul who forces Caleb to reassess his solitary life.

Paul Turner is a barista in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He lives life totally in the moment, but a life of no commitments is about to change for this city boy. Three days is all it takes for Paul to fall hard for Caleb, and Paul returns to the city with a promise he’ll be back after turning his life around… but only when all the roads are clear.
 
 
This was an interesting story for me.  Parts of it were so beautiful.  Parts of it were slow and boring.  It started off good with Caleb rescuing Paul from an accident and them spending a few days together until Paul can go home.  The majority of the rest of the story is them apart.  I liked both of them but I didn’t feel any chemistry between them and I really had a hard time believing they cared about each other so much after three days and sporadic texts.  There was also a boring side story of Paul’s roommate which took up a lot his story time.  The book is really about the two of them separately dealing with personal issues.  Even at the end we barely see them together.  What was the draw to me was the story of Caleb and his dead partner.  Caleb often thinks back to the moments they had together and the moments leading up to Mike’s death from cancer.  Those were some beautifully touching and heart breaking scenes.  My eyes filled with tears more than once.  Caleb’s grief is so strong you could feel it.  I did this on audio and the narrator was average.  His voice was nice and he did the different characters well but it all seemed slow.  This was one where I truly could not tell if it was the story, the narration or a bit of both that was the problem.
 
Cover art by Garrett LeighI love this cover.  I think it’s beautiful and a great representation of this story.  
Book Details:
Brad Walton
Length9 hours and 32 minutes
ebook, 276 pages
Published May 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
ISBN 163476028X (ISBN13: 9781634760287)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A BJ Audio Review: Long Time Gone (Hell and High Water #2) by S.E. Jakes, Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Long Time Gone audiobookWhen a tornado meets a volcano, nothing is safe.

Soldier of fortune Prophet Drews always worked alone—until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learned the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.

Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet’s been stuck in Tom’s head—and heart—too.

Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is hard enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done.

Once again, I enjoyed the narrator’s performance and felt he added extra dimension to the story with the accents and drama he brought. The voices for each character were clearly discernable and well in character with the guys as  I’d envisioned from having previously read this book. His pacing was never rushed and kept me eager to listen.

From the beginning, this story is a roller coaster ride of nature’s fury, sex, intrigue, secrets revealed, action, and more sex. My favorite scene in this book by far is the hurricane sex scene in New Orleans. In fact, it’s right up there as one of the most memorable sex scene’s I’ve read in a m/m story. Oh my, that is definitely a one-handed read or listen, in this case. Tom and Prophet were already combustible together, but put them in the midst of a raging storm and the hurricane around them pales into perfect background music. Damn, that was hot as heck. Aside from that scene, there are numerous other heated interludes. IMHO, just enough to keep that fire burning without being too much.

Here we delve very strongly into Tom’s past in the bayou; allowing us to get a much better picture of the man as we see it all unfold. I won’t reveal too much more than the blurb has already shared as don’t want to spoil it. But we meet some characters in this story that I found very interesting. And the settling! New Orleans and the bayou country has always been a place I’d like to spend a longer time visiting (been there only briefly), and this book did an excellent job of making me feel the heat, humidity, social climate and wildlife. Excellent sense of place.

I felt the deepening of the connection between Tom and Prophet, and it seemed to build very naturally as both men begin to let down their guards and allow each other further in. The ending didn’t tie things up with a bow, but thankfully it was a bit more of a HFN than we got in book one at least. It seems as much as we learn about these two, the more there is we don’t yet know.

Cover art by LC Chase: The displays the tattoos on Tom’s back this time, not quite as detailed as the dreamcatcher on book one’s cover, but still hot and fitting to the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon


Book Details:  

December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios, 7 hrs 52 mins
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published October 28th 2013)
Original TitleLong Time Gone
ASINB016OXU8WQ
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #2, Extreme Escapes, Ltd. setting

A BJ Audiobook Review: Catch a Ghost (Hell and High Water #1) by S.E. Jakes and Adam North (Narrator)

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

Catch A Ghost AudiobookEveryone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.

Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.

Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.

If you enjoy alpha males and need heat in your m/m books, look no further! Grab this series right the heck now! If I had three words to describe this story, they would be “intense” and “flaming hot.”

Prophet and Tom together are like a volcano gouging out steam and flames and hot, sizzling lava. Okay, yeah, sometimes the refractory time is really short and their uh, hardiness borders on unrealistic. But there is no doubt at all about their chemistry, and both are well-realized characters with complex backstories which come strongly into play in this series. A few times the backstory on Prophet got a bit complex for me to follow easily, especially given the often fast pace of the storyline. There were a lot of people and details and twists and turns to keep track of… especially as it neared the end. This ending is left largely unsettled as far as the relationship, so its not a HEA/HFN. But  it totally makes me want to read on in the series and get to know what happens with these guys.

I’d already read the book and rated it four stars, but since I’d purchased but not yet finished reading the whole series, I was intrigued when it came out on audio. The narrator was new on audible, but I decided to take a chance and see if the narration would add another dimension to this previously enjoyed story. It totally did! I adored Tom’s Cajun accent… and both men sounded pretty much as I’d imagined. I had no trouble telling the speakers apart. It’s sometimes hard for me to say whether I prefer the audio or reading experience, mostly because only rarely do I partake of a story in both formats. Overall, I enjoyed the audio and the one small part where I felt the book was a bit better had pretty much nothing to do with the narrator. Near the end, in the parts there’s a part where a lot is going on, it was even harder for me to take in and visualize when heard than when reading. Probably because in print, I can read back over a sentence here or there if there’s a need to ground myself more firmly in the details. Since I’m most often driving when listening to audio, rewind isn’t something I do.

The audiobook cover is basically the same as the book… and it’s perfect for the story. The tattoo is just as imagined and love the nipple bar! Beautiful, sexy, hot cover.

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon |  Audible  | Buy It Here


Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 9 pages, 8 hrs 3 mins

Adam North (Narrator)
Published December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published September 7th 2013)
Original TitleCatch A Ghost
ASINB016DW5VUC
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHell or High Water #1, Extreme Escapes, Ltd.December 16th 2015 by Audible Studios