A BJ Audio Review: Tempest (Playing the Fool #3) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Rating:  3.75 stars out of 5

Tempest_AudiobookSomething wicked this way comes.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness and con man Henry Page are on the run again. This time they’re headed back to where it all began: Altona, Indiana. Population: some goats. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm, but they’ve got nowhere else to go.

While Mac fights to clear his name and Henry struggles with whose side he’s really on, a ghost from the past threatens to destroy everything. And those aren’t the only storms on the radar. Cut off from both sides of the law, Mac and Henry must rely on their tenuous partnership to survive.

If Henry can convince himself to let Mac see the man behind the disguises, they’ll stand a chance of beating the forces that conspire against them. The course of true love never did run smooth, but for the two of them, it might be their only hope.

The finale of this three part serialized humorous romantic suspense was worth the wait. This installment was not as light as the first two, which I actually liked. Most of the banter and humor this time came towards the end. For those that love that sort of thing, it should be just what you are looking forward to as an ending. For me, I could have done without so much of that at the end. I’d hoped for Henry finally dropping all the banter and joking and letting his guard completely down with Mac but was disappointed there.

Lots of fast and furious action in the last third of that was sometimes a bit over the top. We finally have a resolution to the suspense and a romance, finally got to see the depth of Henry/Sebastian’s hurt and motivations, and Mac. Well, I just loved him through all of the stories. And also in this one we get to meet his family, and they are just as awesome! Viola and Mac young niece, Cory, rather stole the show for me at parts of this book, and I was totally on board with that. Loved them.

While there was no cliffhanger in this one, there were a few things left hanging (for me anyway). I wish there’d been more closure of Viola’s story, more than the one sentence comment that alluded to her possible fate. And something that bugged me to distraction was… what happened to Door Bell? Did they just abandon the poor dog there along with the apartment? If so, that is so sad. Certainly Henry didn’t take him and there was no mention when we see Stacy again that she did. I just really needed to know that he was okay, cuz yeah, I’m a dog household.

Nick J. Russo’s narration throughout this series was a highlight. All the voices were defined, the delivery of the humor was spot on, and the angsty bits were captivating. Overall, his narration was perhaps my favorite experience of the story.

Another simple cover design by L.C. Chase that works refreshingly well to set the tone of the book.

Sales Links:  Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes

Book Details:  

 Audible Audio
Published (first published March 9th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #3 settingIndiana (United States)

A BJ Audiobook Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, Narrated by Nick J. Russo

Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Mischief, thou art afoot.

Two Gentlemen of Altona AudiobookSpecial Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page-the world’s most irritating witness-alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.

Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.

When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.

A well-written, humorous romantic suspense that seemed more focused on the banter than the suspense. Humor, banter and snark are not something I normally look for in a story, and the fact that this book is heavy weighted with it told me pretty early on that might be a case of a story not being a good fit for me.

The opening was a bit confusing and slow–it took me a while for me to engage with the plot. However, I enjoyed that the two characters were very much opposites. Mac wasn’t a typical super-hot perfect agent, but was bald, bit overweight and struggling with his diet as well as his grumpiness. I loved him. Henry, on the other hand, annoyed me much of time with his banter and lies. Came across as a taker who only did the right thing at one key point because someone else talked him in to it. It was only seeing the hints of a dark, sad past that kept me from totally disliking him, well, that and the scene with the storm. Overall, I found myself wanting less banter and more depth. Again, just a personal preference, I’m sure.

This book has massive cock blocking–phone calls at exactly the worst possible time more than once! I would have actually have preferred no sex to the continual interrupted starts and stops as I think that the internal thoughts and little hints at attraction would have been enough for nice sexual tension without all the coitus interruptus thrown in.

There were a lot of Shakespeare references that I didn’t connect with, and so I’m sure I probably didn’t get some of the layers of the story for that reason. Also, the scene in the hospital near the end didn’t click with me for several reasons (which I won’t mention due to spoiler aspects). Finally came the massive cliffhanger ending that left this feeling like more of an intro or serial than a full story.

Nick J. Russo’s narration was excellent, nice delivery of the humorous bits. The character voices (even the women) were well done and the rough, gritty voice he used for Mac contrasted nicely with the suave one for Henry. I think the narration added to the depth of the story and was my favorite part of the experience. The story itself didn’t engage me enough to make me eager to return to it, but once I began listening, the narration was always easy to listen to.

Engaging cover by L.C. Chase both because of the bright contrasting simple red/black/white color scheme and the simple design. Did a good job of getting the lighthearted humor with suspense idea across.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 Audiobook Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 6 pages, 5 hrs 11 mins
Published February 12th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published December 27th 2014)
Original TitleThe Two Gentlemen of Altona
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #1 settingIndiana (United States)