A Ali Audiobook Review: After the Fire (Through Hell and Back #2) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator)

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 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With his lover dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of self-destruction that nearly costs him his friends, his career and his life. When Jordan finds himself working closely with the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks him back into a life and emotions he’d thought lost forever.

The betrayal by the foster brother he’d worshiped, taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life doesn’t free him of the nightmare of his youth; it reinforces his belief that he would never fall in love. When the death of one of his clients forces him to work closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson, he meets a person whose suffering exceeds his own. Though Jordan rejects his effort to help, something within Luke pushes him discover more about the first man to ever get under his skin.

As Luke lets down his guard and Jordan lets go of his pain, desire takes control. Each man must come to terms with past struggles if they are to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain, may be the only thing that saves them in the end.
This book begins 9 months down the road from the end of book one.  I will start this by saying that I had not read book one and while I was able to follow this perfectly, I probably missed out on some of the emotional connections by doing so.  As a result I would recommend that you read this series in order.
Jordan is a mess at the start of the story.  His partner was killed and he’s not dealing with the grief well at all.  He has isolated himself from his friends and he’s drinking excessively and abusing prescription medication.  He ends up working with a project with Lucas who manages Jordan’s ex’s money.  The two men don’t get off to a great start;  Jordan is angry and rude and Lucas is cold and aloof.  Over the course of them working together though they begin to have feelings for each other.  It’s a struggle for them both though.  Jordan isn’t ready to let go of his ex and Lucas has a bunch of issues from his childhood.
The story overall was just average for me.  I liked the idea of it but the execution style was not my thing.  It was very drama filled and over the top in places in my opinion.  Jordan in particular gave me emotional whiplash.  He would go from anger to lust to guilt to love all in the matter of the same conversation/moment in time.  I had a hard time relating to either MC and I didn’t actually like Jordan all that much.  I should have felt sorry for him but he just annoyed me too much for me to really warm up to him.
I think if you were a fan of the first book though that you would probably enjoy this.  The couple from book one plays an important role here.
This book was narrated by Kale Williams who I had never listened to before.  I thought he did a good job.  He has a nice narrating voice and I will check out some of his other work in the future.
Cover by Reese Dante:  I liked this cover a lot.  It’s very eye catching and draws you to the book.  It also compliments the cover from book one really well.

Sales Links:  Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2v0Nwx2Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2wmDXZ0

 

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 264 pages
Published February 24th 2017 (first published February 23rd 2015)
Original TitleAfter the Fire
ASINB06WP9TNF9
SeriesThrough Hell and Back #2

A Lila Audiobook Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Forgotten Paradise is a quick summer read with a delightful love story. Perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the company of great characters and an easy going, but interesting plot.  The traditional troupes of this series let the reader’s imagination free and into a travel adventure.

Adam and Jonah are both “bigger than life characters.” They live in that imaginary bubble with all want to believe in. The spin on the amnesia plot brought the two parts of the story together–the vacation and their real lives.  I enjoyed the time the author took making each part unique.

There are a lot of descriptions about the settings, the diving trips, and Adam’s vacation. It was a bit overwhelming at times, but it added to the color of the story. The romance itself is the central part, but the small twists and turns framed the story well.

One thing I appreciated about the story was the path Adam and Jonah followed. They both grew as individuals and businessmen. And their HEA work well with the rest of the story.

Andrew McFerrin did a remarkable job with the narration. My only complaint comes from the accents of the Dominican characters. They really didn’t sound the part, but overall, it was an enjoyable work.

The cover by Bree Archer matches the series and Jonah’s description. A bit generic, but it follows the format.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Length: 5 hours 49 minutes
Published: June 1, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B071LTJB8J
Edition Language: English

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Romancing the Wrong Twin by Clare London and Rusty Topsfield (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

romancing-the-wrong-twin-audioHow tangled can a romantic web get?

 

When gruff mountaineer Dominic Hartington-George seeks sponsorship for his latest expedition, his London PA insists on a more media-friendly profile—like dating celebrity supermodel Zeb Z.

 

Zeb can’t make the date, so he asks his identical twin, Aidan, to stand in for just one evening. Aidan, a struggling playwright, shuns the limelight to the extent people don’t even know Zeb has a sibling, but he reluctantly agrees.

 

When the deception has to continue beyond the first date, Aidan fights to keep up the pretense. Dominic likes his sassy, intelligent companion, and Aidan starts falling for the forthright explorer. But how long can Aidan’s conscience cope as confusion abounds? Will coming clean as “the other twin” destroy the trust they’ve built?

 

So… I had a hard time with this story.  I thought the concept was interesting, but had trouble with some of the execution.  Dominic is forced into a PR relationship to help him get a sponsorship deal and Aiden stands in for his supermodel brother when Zeb can’t make it.

 

I understood both Dominic’s and Aiden’s points of view in the story, but had a hard time connecting with the characters.  Throughout the story it just seemed that they would both internally whine about their situations or the people around them and to me it made them quite off putting.  While we see them both jump into a physical relationship without much talk about the future and feelings, I can understand their feelings being hurt through misunderstanding, but didn’t really feel the characters emotions.

 

Rusty Topsfield did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the story and characters which is always nice.  I didn’t like some of the voices he had for characters and a few secondary ones seemed quite similar, but the whiny quality of some of the voices he used along with the whininess of the characters didn’t help.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner PressAudible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 6hrs 21min
Published January 3, 2017 (ebook first published November 1, 2016) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

An Ali Audiobook Review: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M. Cates and Tristan James (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
close-to-you-audioIt’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.
When I started this I was under the impression I could read this as a standalone since it’s about a different couple than the previous books.  Once I started it though I felt like I was missing something so I went back and read the previous books.  I’m glad I did that because these two are side characters with important roles in those stories and it helped me transition into this book.
The story is told from dual points of view and it’s told in the past (when they were teens) and the present.  Tomas comes from a loving home but Marc grew up in a very abusive home.  Child abuse is shown and while I didn’t find it super graphic, be aware if this is an issue for you.  As this story goes along Marc has to start working through his issues to be happy with himself and to be able to have a relationship with Tomas.  Marc has a lot of intimacy issues and fear based on his childhood and these two’s journey is painful and angst filled.
While there is a lot of angst and heartache is this story it ends with a beautiful happily ever after and I loved the journey the author took the characters and the readers on.  This was my first time reading this author and I will definitely be looking to read more of her work.
Cover Artist: AngstyG:  I like the cover.  I’m not typically a fan of the color brown in a monochromatic form but this still stood out and it really fit the mood of the story.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published December 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 28th 2016)
Original TitleClose to You
ASINB01N9ENUL1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSunshine and Happiness #3

An Ali Audiobook Review: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
save-of-the-game-audioAfter last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.
I loved this book just as much the second time around.  I read this book when it first came out and then jumped at this chance to review the audio version.  I’m glad to say it stood the test of time.  This remains my favorite in this series for a couple of reasons.  First off, there is very little angst in this book.  Neither of the two guys has ever been with another guy before but there is no drama surrounding this.  They discuss it like adults, determine they care about each other and want to see where it goes, and then they just get on with it.  No internal or external angsting.  I also enjoy the way the other characters in the book respond to them.  Their friends accept their status with few questions and one of my favorite scenes in the entire book is when Ethan takes Riley home to meet his mother and to come out to her.  It was a bit funny and a lot beautiful.  In a genre that is filled with stereotypical evil mothers, it was a refreshing change to see a wonderful, accepting mom who just loves her son.
There are some other issues both of the guys are working on but again, it’s done through communication.  Ethan’s storyline in particular was interesting too me.  Usually in sports books the MC’s are completely obsessed with their sport and this was different.  Ethan was able to say he really wasn’t as devoted as he needed to be and maybe he needed to look at some other options.
As usual with this author’s book you can tell through the writing that she is a hockey fan and her love of the game comes through in the writing.  If you’re not a hockey fan though you will not be bogged down with facts and details and you’ll be able to enjoy the book without any problems.
This audiobook is narrated by Scott R. Smith and I felt like he did a really good job.  He did both of the MC’s, including Ethan’s New Yorker accent, really well.  He also did a good job on the side characters, including the females (which not all male narrators can do).  Something about listening to these on audio makes the game scenes stand out more to me.  It’s almost like listening to games on the radio (well, actually on my phone app).  Listening to well done audios also make the romantic scenes seem even sweeter and the smexy scenes even hotter (& this book has both).
Overall this was a great read.  I loved the plot and loved the narration and I highly recommend checking this out.  This is the second book in a series but can be read as a standalone.
Cover by Aaron Anderson:  I love this cover.  It was one of my favorite covers of the year.  It’s a great representation of both the game of hockey as well as the story.  I also find it very visually appealing.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
6 hrs 22 mins
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published September 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published January 29th 2016)
Original TitleSave of the Game
ASINB01LTDEJWQ
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesScoring Chances #2 settingJacksonville, Florida (United States)
New York (United States)

A Lila Audiobook Review: Running Wild by SE Jakes and Narrated by Dorian Bane

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

runningwild_audiobookSean Rush is an adrenaline junkie. That’s why he was in the Army, why he steals and races classic muscle cars… and why he can’t stay away from bad boy Ryker, a Havoc Motorcycle Club lieutenant. Fortunately, Ryker can’t seem to stay away from Sean—he’s spent the last eight months breaking into Sean’s apartment and stealing into his bed, leaving Sean physically satisfied but increasingly restless.

Sean has always avoided relationships. He likes to come and go without being controlled. And Ryker is possibly the most controlling man he’s ever known. Still, he finds that he wants more from Ryker than their silent nighttime encounters.

Then one of Sean’s thefts goes bad, and Ryker’s protective instincts kick into overdrive. He takes Sean to the Havoc compound, determined to keep him safe. But Sean’s past threatens the safety of Havoc—and everything Ryker holds dear. Worse, Ryker’s hiding secrets of his own. Soon it’s obvious that the adrenaline rush can’t keep them together anymore. But maybe love can.

Running Wild is another good book by this author. It isn’t as detailed as others in her series, but it’s interesting enough to carry a new series. The concept was good, but the delivery fell short. It became predictable and cliché at parts.

I love Ryker, but Sean needed to grow up. Their relationship started strong, but then it turned more into an MF motorcycle book. Some of the scenes and the way Sean acted were easy to gender swap. I wanted Ryker and Sean to actually sit down and talk. Not pretend they were listening to each other, and not putting the club before their relationship.

One of my favorite parts was during the MCs’ separation. Perhaps because we saw another side of Sean—a more mature man trying to put his life back together and taking control. For me, the friendship between the rival motorcycle club president and Ryker stole the show. I wanted to know more about them. Maybe with Sean in the mix.

Overall, an entertaining story with likable enough characters. It lacks the emotional connection from other books from this author, but it’s a good one to start a somehow related story.

Narrator: The narration was pleasant but not remarkable. Dorian Bane did a good job getting the characters’ voices to differentiate from each other. For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about MSNBC reporter Craig Melvin. I felt as if he was narrating the story, and I didn’t mind. 🙂

The cover for the audiobook is an adaptation of the e-book version created by L.C. Chase. It’s interesting, and let the reader see the road from the rider’s perspective.

Sales Links:  Riptide | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Dorian Bane
Length: 7 hours and 15 minutes

Published:  September 26, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Riptide Publishing
ASIN: B01LXXFCMM
Edition Language: English

Series: Havoc

Book #1: Running Wild